Seared Tofu with Bacon, Shitakes, and Chives
Rich and filling tofu dish with chunks of crispy bacon tucked among mushrooms and scallions
If you do not have mirin, you can always replaced with brown sugar.
Review: This is really a simple dish. It is tasty largely due to the bacon which add a chewy-crunchable texture and meaty flavor to the otherwise bland tofu. If you are using water instead of chicken stock, let the gravy simmer for about 10 minutes to get the rich flavors from the mushromm and bacon. Put in more scallion for a more intense aroma and taste. With no attached picture, I only realised after we had finished our dinner that I am supposed to lay the bacon and mushroom mixtures over the tofu. Well!
Book Review: I am seriously glad I joined Food52 Cooking Club, it opens my eyes to many cookbooks writers that I have not heard of. This month, we are cooking from the book “Dinner: Changing the Game” by Melissa Clark. The book is organised by main cooking ingredients — chicken, meat, fish and seafood, eggs, pasta and noodles, tofu, vegetable dinners, grains, pizza, soups, and salads. Having read praises from Yotam Ottolenghi, Diana Henry, and Amanda Hesser, I was rather disappointed as its recipes does not inspire me to cook. After browsing the recipes many times and reading posts from other cooks, I have selected two receipes to cook for submitting to the club – this recipe and sesame chicken.
A big portion of the cookbook are recipes from Asia and Middle East countries. Being an Asian, many of the recipes seem like a reworked Chinese dish and lack the fine details in Chinese cooking. ‘Dinner’ is more suitable for one who likes Asian food but prefers not to sweat over cooking, easy & fuss-free! Her instructions also leaves a lot to be desired, they do not provide clear picture of the texture to expect and cook until when/what/how. Without accompanying pictures, you will have to guess based on your experience with the food, no online presence even.
- 2 tbsp peanut/safflower oil
- 1 (14-16oz) extra-firm tofu
- sea salt to taste (omitted)
- 4 oz fresh shitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
- 3 oz thick-cut bacon, cut into ¼-inch
- 2 scallions
- ¼ cup chicken or vegetable stock (I used water)
- 2½ tsp soy sauce
- 2 tsp mirin
- rice vinegar (I omitted)
- thinly sliced fresh chives (garnishing)
- Drain the tofu and pat dry. Slice the tofu crosswise into 3/4-inch thick slab. Slice the scallion thinly, reserve the dark green part for garnishing.
- Heat the oil in a frying pan over high heat until very hot. Add the tofu into the pan and let it sear for 2 to 3 minutes until golden brown. Flip the tofu and sear for another 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the tofu to a plate, sprinkle with salt and set aside.
- Add the mushrooms, bacon and scallions to the frying pan and cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until the mushrooms are softened and bacon crisp.
- Combine the water, soy sauce and mirin in a bowl. Pour into the frying pan and cook for about 1 minute or until the sauce reduces and thickens.
- Add the tofu back into the pan and simmer for about 1 minute. Transfer the tofu to the plate and top with the mushroom mixture. Sprinkle with vinegar and garnish with chives and scallions.