Herbed Tofu Club with Avocado & Chutney
When we had half a tub of tofu left over from making this favorite for the first time in a while, my mind rambled over the possibilities. I don’t buy tofu that much anymore, but I used to cook with it and eat it a lot. One of my favorite preparations was the tofu sandwich. A million years ago, when I lived in the East Village, my roommate Jordana and I ate plenty of meals at Angelica Kitchen, the first-of-its-kind vegetarian joint nearby. There, Peter Berley cooked presciently, serving tasty grain bowls and tofu that tasted like something, not nothing. On his sandwiches, he layered slices of tofu, which had been marinated and baked under a blanket of herbs, vinegars, spices, and oil, with vegetables and good spreads. We adored those sandwiches.
With the exception of a) hardcore Italian subs with at least four kinds of cured meat and b) the pressed mortadella pressed at Brooklyn Larder, I actually don’t love cold cuts on my sandwiches. Though not every menu reaches much beyond caprese on focaccia, I’ll order a vegetarian number if I can–avocado and hummus, grilled cheese of course, or this tofu club.
Here, the tofu bakes in what’s essentially a green sauce. I spread the bottom slice of bread with a chutney I threw together at the end of the summer, to save a few rooftop tomatoes that never ripened. The seasoning comes from coriander seeds, which play nicely with the cilantro leaves (they’re the same plant), and of course plenty of sugar. You could use a purchased chutney if you like one; otherwise make some quick onion jam or reach for the apple butter you pushed to the back of the fridge after October’s farm visit. Ingredients for the rest of the sandwich–fresh multigrain bread, avocado, mustard, and lettuce leaves–shouldn’t be a problem to come by.
- ¼ white onion, thinly sliced
- 1½ tablespoons olive oil
- 1 lime
- 7 ounces tofu, drained and cut into ¼-inch thick slices
- Half a bunch cilantro, stems and leaves
- 4 slices good whole grain bread
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- About ¼ cup chutney
- ½ avocado, sliced
- Red leaf lettuce
- Early in the day (if you have time), make the marinade: Pulse together a few onion slices with the juice from the lime, oil, a pinch of salt, and cilantro until it turns into a thick paste. Add a tablespoon of water, enough to thin the paste so you can pour it.
- Place the tofu in a single layer in a small pan. Pour the marinade over. Cover and pan and set aside until ready to bake (or, proceed immediately).
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Bake the tofu for 45 minutes, until marinade is absorbed and the edges of the tofu look crisp.
- Spread two slices of bread with chutney and two with mustard. Divide the tofu, avocado, and lettuce between the two chutney-topped slices, then top with the second (mustard-spread) slices. Cut in half and serve.