You’re going to love this marinated tofu recipe. Plus, learn how to press tofu using things you already have at home. For a simplified version of this entree, check out this easy baked tofu recipe.
I love to start my morning in a cozy robe with a cup of coffee in hand while I flip through the early morning programs, like the Today show or Good Morning America. Their light banter and soft journalism is a nice little entry to the day. My husband and I chat about the stories, with thumbs at the ready to flip channels when one of their meat-heavy cooking segments air.
Every once in a blue moon they’ll cook something vegetarian or vegan, sometimes even involving tofu. Inevitably one of the hosts will squirm over the idea of eating bean curd and say something disparaging about it. I get it. I used to mock tofu too. It’s the food that people love to hate. Sitting in a bath of water on a refrigerated shelf in the grocery store, it doesn’t look immediately appealing. If only people could get past its outward appearance and their own assumptions, they might come to love tofu as I have.
If only tofu had the PR of, say, ladybugs. They’re bugs just like any other bugs, and yet people coo when they see them and delight in them crawling on their arms. They may even break into a song about them. What other bug gets that kind of treatment? You don’t see people singing over cockroaches or centipedes. Unfortunately for tofu, they have the PR of… tofu.
Tofu could be that gawky girl in one of those romantic teen comedies, who is wearing glasses with her hair in pigtails and then after the hot guy falls for her it’s revealed that she’s actually hot too. Why? Because deep down, tofu is pretty exceptional. First of all, it’s super versatile. It can be grilled, baked, roasted, stir-fried… It can be used in desserts, thrown into salads, or make for a delightful morning scramble. It is a blank canvas. It will soak up the flavors of any delicious marinade, from smoky barbecue sauce to a red wine marinade to today’s recipe for Lemony Baked Tofu with Rosemary.
How to press tofu
The secret to spectacular tofu is in the pressing. Water-packed tofu, sold in the refrigerated section, is like a sponge. When using it, you need to drain the package and press out all of that water logged inside of it. After that, it can soak up whatever marinade and flavor profile you desire.
After I empty the water from the package, I like to cut the tofu into slices for quicker and more even pressing. Then I set it on a plate that has been covered in a kitchen towel. Lay the tofu slices evenly across the plate, not overlapping. Cover the slices with another towel, and top them with a hard cover book or another plate.
Then on top of all of that, place something heavy, like a weight or cans of soup. Press the tofu for a half an hour to an hour, and then it’s ready for marinating. (To save time, consider pressing the tofu in the refrigerator overnight, and then in the morning put it in the marinade before work. When you get home, you only have to throw it in the oven to bake.)
This Lemony Baked Tofu with Rosemary has a wonderful, dense texture because of its long baking time, and it’s great for people who prefer their meals to have a centerpiece with a couple of sides. It goes well with barley, risotto, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, or asparagus. If you happen to have any left over (and we rarely do), they work well in a salad or sandwich.
I would like to finish today’s post with a little poem:
Little Miss Muffet sat on a tuffet,
Eating bean curd (and no whey),
Along came a spider and sat down beside her,
And said, “Hey, Muffet. Any idea how I could get hooked up with the Ladybug’s PR agent?”