29 Aug 2010

Miso Tofu Bruschetta

Bruschetta have been appearing on the menus of Italian restaurants here in Tokyo for a while now. They are simple to make and extremely satisfying either as lunch, brunch, or - with a large glass of chilled white wine, as a light evening meal, and I'm definitely into eating light right now. Made the traditional way, bruschetta are a wonderful way to capture the flavors of ripe summer tomatoes, fresh garden basil and garlic, but I wanted to do something a bit different so decided to marinade some tofu (I'm getting through a block a day right now, in one way, shape or form). 

For some reason that I haven't quite figured out yet, miso-marinated tofu not only resembles cheese it has something of its smokey aroma, without any of the heaviness or cloying flavor I tend to associate with cheese. What you get are tangy, salty, rich slices of healthy goodness.  
I started out with one block, but if you double the ingredients and marinade two blocks simultaneously you can use one for sandwiches, salads, snacks, etc. and turn the other into a dip. It's dead easy to make and keeps well, and on warmed bread rubbed with garlic and topped with extra virgin olive oil, roasted tomatoes (see my Soda Farl post) and shiso (perilla) leaves, it is absolutely divine. That said, whatever your favorite sandwich fixings are will probably go great and it doesn't have to go onto French bread either, so feel free to embellish this any way you like. 
This marinade was made using the last of a batch of homemade miso from Mizuki plus a generous tablespoon of spicy miso, which also came from Mizuki and is also homemade, though not by her. I'm guessing the spiciness comes from garlic and chili peppers, though it's not as zesty as its color would suggest (it's bright red!). Whatever, any red miso will do, though you could also use barley miso or brown rice miso, or a combination of the above. 

Miso Tofu
1 block firm tofu, drained and pressed

150g red miso 
2 tablespoons sake
2 tablespoons mirin

a piece of gauze or cheesecloth

Wrap your drained tofu in a few paper towels and press with something heavy - a cast-iron skillet, a plate with some cans on top, etc., for 20-30 minutes. Mix the marinade ingredients together. 
Spread half the marinade ingredients over the bottom of a sealable container. Place the tofu wrapped in a piece of surgical gauze or cheesecloth on top and cover with the other half of the marinade ingredients. Put the lid on your container and then put the whole lot in the refrigerator and forget about it for at least 24 hours. (The longer you leave it, the mellower the flavors will become; mine was marinading for about four days, I think.)

Once you've done marinading, scrap the miso off the top and bottom of the tofu and reserve. Preheat the oven to 180C. Unwrap the tofu, cut it in half lengthwise and then width-wise, cutting slices that are roughly 1 centimeter thick. Line your slices up on a baking sheet, brush with a little of the marinade ingredients and then bake for 6-7 minutes. 

Once the tofu's done, remove it from the oven and cover with foil to prevent the moisture from evaporating. Place as much of a baguette as you feel you can eat in the oven to warm for a few minutes - slicing it in half lengthwise first, then rub with garlic oil and top with olive oil, salt and pepper. The bread I used was made using wild yeast, which has a wonderfully dense, chewy texture and is perfect for soaking up all the topping flavors. I wish I could say that I'd made it myself, but I didn't; it came from a local wild yeast bakery.
Place a couple of shiso leaves at either end, line your miso tofu slices up along the length of the bread, top those with roasted tomatoes and some roughly chopped shiso leaves, pour a little of the juices from the tomatoes over the top and prepare yourself for food heaven. 
Now that's a sandwich!

If you want to turn your miso tofu into a dip: place a whole block into a food processor, add a tablespoon of lemon juice and 1/4 cup (50ml) of (unsweetened) soy milk and blend until you have a smooth paste. Now all you have to do is dip in your favorite vegetables!
You can also use the leftover miso as a dip - it tastes great with cucumber or celery or slender sticks of the giant daikon radish. 

No comments:

Post a Comment