One should never spend a heap of time on tofu. Unlike meat, it doesn’t need to marinate, braise or roast for hours to achieve a particular texture or consistency. You should pretty much slice it, season it, fry it, and eat it. And make it quick.
I’m a carnivore, but sometimes vegetarians come for dinner and a proper hostess provides protein options for all. Whether you yourself are a vegetarian or you’re tasked with feeding one, this is really and truly the only tofu recipe you’ll ever need. With it, you have the key ingredient to a plethora of quality vegetarian dishes; perfect vegan tacos, bomb-ass salads, brown rice bowls, vegetarian stir frys that actually satiate you, un-boring meatless sandwiches, and so forth. And I know it’s the biggest cliche ever to say “this tofu is so good, even meat lovers will love it,” but it’s true.
Now. You must grind the pepper fresh. Well, not must, but really strongly should. Tofu aside, if you cook often, you’re playing yourself if you don’t own a spice grinder. You can get a solid one for almost nothing, plus you can also use it to grind fresh coffee in the morning. Trust me, you’ll taste the difference in your dishes right away. I’m not saying this recipe is shot without fresh pepper, but it is the difference between “the only tofu recipe you’ll ever need” and the tofu that was good, but the more expensive pre-seasoned store-bought kind is still a consideration.
Salt + Pepper Tofu
1 14 oz. package of extra firm organic tofu
2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
2 tsps of freshly ground black peppercorns
1 tsp sea salt
Note: Depending on the size of your skillet, you may need to do this in two batches. If so, simply divide the ingredients in half, and do it twice.
In a large non-stick skillet, heat the olive oil on medium high heat.
Slice the tofu cross-wise into slices that are about 1/2 inch thick, and then cut each of those slabs into three smaller rectangles.
When the oil is sufficiently heated, arrange the tofu rectangles on the skillet. A few gentle shakes of the skillet within the first 30 seconds should be enough to help to keep the tofu from sticking.
As the tofu is simmering on one side, sprinkle half of the salt and pepper over the exposed side so that it’s distributed as evenly as you can. (Remember: If you’re doing two batches, this will be 1/4 of the total salt and pepper). Don’t kill yourself trying to make it even. For it’s shortcomings, tofu is nothing if not forgiving.
When the rectangles have sufficiently golden/browned on one side, flip them.
Shake the skillet gently to avoid sticking. Sprinkle the remaining salt and pepper over the second side.
Allow to cook until brown; should take about 3 minutes. Shake the skillet gently every minute or so.
Once both sides are browned, pull off and allow to cool a bit before serving.