Monday, 7 March 2016

Buffalo Tofu "Wings"

In my early 20s I had a job as late-night cook at a bar, where I was horrified to discover that the "recipe" for Buffalo chicken wings consisted of throwing them in the deep fryer then tossing them with a mixture of butter and hot sauce. What do you want with that? Cheese-based dressing, of course! Yikes.

I'm not sure this is a lot healthier, but it turned out to be surprisingly tasty. While this is a very simple recipe, I'm afraid it is not quick - there is a lot of waiting around for things to happen. The final prep is simple though, so it would be a good party dish.

The two of us ate this for lunch. It's a bit large for just two servings, but we persevered. It would also make a nice appetizer for a larger gathering. Could have been a little crisper -I'm calling for you to broil it slightly longer than I actually did - but we found it very enjoyable anyway.

2 to 6 servings

3 hours or more - about 15 minutes prep time and 30 minutes cook time

Weight & Marinate the Tofu:
420 grams (1 pound) firm tofu
1 tablespoon mild vegetable oil
3 tbsps apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 to 3 tablespoons Tabasco, Franks, or other thin fermented hot sauce

Drain the tofu and wrap it in a layer or two of sturdy paper towel. Place it on a plate, with another plate on top, and add a weight on top. It should look a little stressed but in no danger of crumbling. Drain for about 1 hour, or a bit longer if you can swing it.

Remove the tofu from the plates and unwrap it, discarding the liquid and the paper towel. Cut the tofu into slices about 1 cm thick, then cut each slice in half at a slight angle to give the visual representation of chicken wings. (Or not,  if you don't care.)

Mix the marinade ingredients together. Layer the tofu pieces in a container, starting with a drizzle of the marinade, and putting some in between each layer. Cover and return to the fridge to marinate for at least an hour.  

Make the Dressing:
2 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
1/3 cup mayonnaise (light is fine)
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
black pepper and salt to taste
2 tablespoons finely minced chives (optional)

Grate the Parmesan and crumble the blue cheese into a small bowl. Mix in the mayonnaise, buttermilk and mustard. You may wish to add a little more buttermilk, if it seems too thick. Season with a good grind of black pepper. I didn't put in any salt; the two cheeses will bring quite a lot, but you may wish to add a tiny sprinkle.

Coat & Broil the Tofu; Serve:
2/3 to 1 cup nutritional yeast
raw vegetables peeled and cut into sticks
          such as celery, carrots, rutabaga, zucchini

Line a shallow baking pan with parchment paper. Turn on the broiler. Put the nutritional yeast in a shallow bowl. Lift the tofu pieces from the marinade, and dredge them in the nutritional yeast, then place them on the prepared pan. When they are all coated, broil them for about 15 minutes, then turn and broil for 15 minutes on the other side.

Serve at once with the vegetable sticks; about 1 stick per tofu "wing", and with the blue cheese dressing.

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