Even though we both grew-up eating it, especially in high school when Carolyn’s dad would bring this dish to field hockey potlucks, tofu has kind of gotten the cold shoulder on this site. Perhaps it’s because we both cook for our boyfriends (or fiancé, in Cara’s case), and there is just something about tofu that rubs some men the wrong way.
It wasn’t until Josh’s boss went vegan and he started grabbing lunch at Birdbath in the East Village, that I even considered tofu as a viable dinner option. But the times I’ve made it since, his plate has always ended up clean. So welcome back, tofu.
When experimenting with different types of tofu entrees, I’ve tried to stay close to Peter Berley’s best tofu and its winning combination of vinegar, wine, mustard, and herbs. I’ve taken it in an Asian direction, using something similar to a ginger-carrot dressing as a marinade, and also in a Moroccan one. But my new favorite is Tofu Marbella.
The marinade is pretty similar to what you would create for classic Chicken Marbella, only there’s no need to start the night before. Instead, like most tofu dishes, the whole thing can be whipped up on the spot and baked up quickly for dinner. The mixture of acidity and sweetness brings a huge flavor punch to the tofu, which like chicken, is a worthy blank canvas for all the flavor you can give it.
If you, your boyfriend, or your buddies are tofu converts too, try this dish next. Who knows, maybe you can begin replacing chicken in all your favorite meals.
From my kitchen, bring tofu back to my table, to yours,
Phoebe, THE QUARTER-LIFE COOK
1 pound extra firm tofu, drained
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/4 cup chopped pitted prunes
1/4 cup chopped pitted green olives
1 tablespoon capers
3 bay leaves
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 small shallot, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon honey
4 garlic cloves
½ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons white wine
Parsley for garnish (optional)
Pat the tofu dry with a paper or dish towel, then set aside.
Make the marinade: combine the oil, vinegar, prunes, olives, capers, bay leaf, oregano, shallot, and honey in a mixing bowl and stir to combine. Roughly chop the garlic cloves, then sprinkle with the salt. Continue to chop until very finely minced (for more on making garlic paste, see here). Add to the marinade.
Slice the tofu 1/2-inch thick and arrange in one layer in a baking or casserole dish. Pour the marinade over the tofu. Allow to sit, covered, in the fridge for at least 1 hour, and up to 4.
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Add the white wine to the tofu, and bake in the oven for 45 minutes, until the liquid has mostly absorbed and the top of the tofu is browned. Garnish with parsley and serve over rice pilaf or herbed orzo.