Pan seared tofu fillet on a bed of ginger carrot salad (Vegan)

September 28, 2010 § 6 Comments

pan seared fillet of tofu served over ginger carrot salad

I used to find Iron Chef difficult to watch because of the cutting of the fish heads and sometimes live animals being slaughtered. My interest piqued when the show’s producers decided to present a special vegetarian episode. There was also a spinach episode way back with Cat Cora (maybe?) that featured spinach mac & cheese. What’s not to love about that??!! So, Chef Michael Symon now does a show on the Cooking Channel that breaks down three courses from an Iron Chef episode. Again, if you’re sensitive to seeing dead animals, this program is not for you. But if you can kind of put that aside, he relays inspiration and creativity through breaking down the amazing out-of-the-box Iron Chef dishes in steps.

...for sure the 2nd best thing I've ever made, taste wise

It’s one of these episodes that served as the inspiration for this dish. He performed the operation on a fish (tearsob, Cat??!) but the whole time it just looked like a little white piece of silken tofu. And all I could think was, how am I going to recreate this dish in my own kitchen (minus the fish of course). I also recommend shows like these (there are also instructive videos on Bravotv.com that break down the winning dishes from Top Chef…love chef Voltaggio’s video on Kevin’s unique version of the Singapore Sling which won him Top Chef!!!) for presentation, which is parallel to outlining. When you have an approximate for presentation of your main ingredient, the rest is fill in the blank, e.g. hmm, I need a base of unruly vegetables, etc.. 

For the base (can’t remember what Symon used), I decided to make a carrot salad. I just had carrots lying around and have been wanting to make a carrot salad for a while. I decided to go Asian, just in staying true to the tofu. So, the carrot salad is infused with hot chili sesame oil, ginger and garlic. 

Ginger Carrot Salad
Measurements are approximate, the quantities here will make about 2 plates (as shown above) 

1+1/2 shredded carrots
1 tsp grated ginger
1 clove of grated garlic
1 stem of green onion finely chopped
1 tbsp of sunflower seeds
3 tbsps of hot chili sesame oil (if you find you need a bit more oil, fill in with sesame oil or extra virgin olive oil)
salt and pepper to taste
juice from half a lime 
 
Mix. Cover with a plastic wrap and refrigerate. You will love this. The aroma will hit you in the face and you’ll have a hard time not eating it all on the spot. The longer you let this marinated mixture sit, the stronger the flavor will be. 

Pan seared tofu fillet in ‘butter’ lime sauce
1 pkg silken tofu
tempura mix
corn starch
all purpose flour
oil for the pan
salt and pepper 

2 tbsp earth balance
grated lime peel (the shavings from one lime is enough)
salt and pepper 

This process may be a bit difficult to translate. I started by cutting the tofu into fillet-like pieces (see picture). Then, thoroughly dried each piece in a paper towel. I created a mixture (unknown quantities, just a little of this and that) of corn starch (probably a tbsp), flour (probably two tbsps) and tempura flour (equal parts as flour). I coated each of the tofu pieces in the dry mixture (see picture), then put them into an oiled frying pan on medium heat (the pan should already be warm), adding salt and pepper to taste to each side. Once both sides were cooked w. a golden brown finish, I set them on a cooling rack and added the butter and lime peel to the pan to create a sauce. When serving I spooned this sauce over the tofu fillet, which I served over couscous (see below). Hope you enjoy. This was definitely one of my best so far. Bar is raised now!! 

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