Crispy Tangy Tofu

 
This is a quick, tasty, and nutritious way to start a meal, and is one of my favorite ways to serve tofu. The top stays crispy, yet the rest absorbs the pungent citrus sauce.

If you can find organic silken tofu, so much the better, though you can use regular tofu. Excellent with a chilled, bone-dry sake like a daiginjo (and, even better, one from Niigata Prefecture, Japan, where it tends to be citrusy and clean-tasting). It's equally good with a glass of well-chilled champagne. Makes 4 individual servings.

Zest of one large lemon (Meyer lemon is even better, if you can find one)
Juice of one large lemon (about 4 tablespoons)
Zest of one orange
Juice of 1 orange
2 tablespoons fresh carrot juice
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon soy sauce
Pinch of cayenne pepper
3 scant tablespoons rice flakes (you can substitute fine breadcrumbs if you can’t easily find rice flakes, but they are well worth seeking out)
Pinch of kosher or other salt
Pinch of freshly crushed black peppercorns
1 egg yolk
1 block silken tofu, drained then wrapped in paper towels
1 heaping tablespoon unsalted butter
1 teaspoon chopped chives, chopped (optional)


Zest the lemon and orange and set aside. Squeeze the lemon and orange juices into a small saucepan, add the carrot juice, honey, soy sauce, and cayenne, and bring to a boil. Let it simmer on low heat while you prepare the tofu.

Add the rice flakes (or breadcrumbs), salt, and pepper to a spice grinder and pulse a few times. Be sure that the paper towels have absorbed as much water as possible from the tofu, then slice the tofu along its "equator," creating 2 large flat-ish halves. Cut each of those in half, giving you 4 flat pieces. Spoon the egg yolk on one side of each piece, and evenly spread the rice-flake crust over them. Heat the butter in a small, nonstick fry pan over medium heat and sauté the tofu, crust-side down, for about 5 minutes, until it browns nicely. Carefully flip the pieces over with a spatula, and briefly cook the other side, about 2 minutes. Pour some of the reduced sauce into a warm plate or shallow bowl, and slide the tofu into the center of the sauce, crispy side up, and top with the orange zest and lemon zest, and the optional chives.

Crispy Tangy Tofu