The past few days have been gloriously hot. Some may say sticky, sweaty and humid, but I have been loving every second of it. Last night I ended my salad streak and cooked dinner. It was so hot that I really should not have turned the oven on, but I had tofu in the fridge that was begging to be eaten. While the tofu baked in the oven and the artichokes steamed on the stove, Pat and I went for a walk to escape the heat, and then Pat installed the first air conditioner of the season. I usually try to hold off as long as possible (since once they're in Pat cranks them every night) but last night it was unavoidable.
I sliced the block of tofu into nine pieces and pressed them in between several layers of paper towels, then covered in a cutting board and cast iron pan. After about an hour of being pressed (to get the extra moisture out) I got to work.
Turn the oven to 375 degrees, then prepare bowls of egg white and panko crumbs with Parmesan cheese (please freshly grate your cheese for this - it makes a huge difference).
Cover a cookie sheet with tin foil (if you're lazy like I am and want to minimize dishes). Take each piece of tofu, first submerging it in the egg white, and then dredging it through the panko/parm mixture (pat it in to make sure the pieces are fully covered). Repeat with all pieces of tofu.
Then cook for about 30-45 minutes, until the tofu is golden brown. I didn't even flip the tofu because we went out for a walk - it turns out that it didn't need it, so don't bother!
|I forgot to take a picture before cooking, but this is about 10 minutes in.|
The kitchen will smell amazing as this cooks, and then your finished product will look something like this:
It will smell so good and look so good that even tofu critics will praise you (although Pat didn't go so far as to eat it, he kept saying how great it smelled and how he wished he liked tofu so he could eat it. Ha.).
Top with your favorite marinara sauce and more shredded cheese, and you have a delicious dinner!
After I took this out of the oven I realized that it would have been even better if I'd added the sauce and extra cheese for the last 5 minutes of bake time to heat it up and get the cheese really melty. If you make this, you should do that!
Panko and Parmesan Crusted Tofu
Serves about 3
- 1 block firm or extra-firm tofu
- approx 2/3 cup panko bread crumbs
- approx 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese (or Romano would be great, too)
- 1 egg white
- marinara sauce and extra cheese for topping
- Slice tofu block into 9 pieces of equal thickness. Layer several paper towels on the counter, arrange tofu pieces in a single layer, and then layer several more paper towels on top. Cover with heavy objects (such as a cutting board and cast iron skillet, or cook books) and let press for at least 45 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Measure panko and parm into a small bowl. Toss to combine.
- Set up another small bowl with your egg white.
- Submerge tofu in egg white until covered, then dredge through the panko/parm mixture (patting crumbs in to ensure that tofu is completely covered). Repeat with all tofu and place on a cookie sheet.
- Bake for 30-45 minutes until golden brown. Add marinara sauce and additional shredded cheese and baked for a few more minutes, until hot and melty.
In the winter I'd probably have this tofu with a steaming bowl of pasta, but since it was so hot last night and I didn't want a really heavy meal, I had a steamed artichoke instead (steamed artichokes are the perfect accompaniment to any meal!).
This tofu was delicious - crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. It had the texture of being fried, but was baked (panko breadcrumbs help this because they're much crunchier than regular breadcrumbs). The baked cheese was delicious on the tofu - Pat said he wished I made him a chicken version of this meal! I will definitely make this again - it was so easy and requires very little work/ingredients.