I probably make this dish more than any other you've ever seen posted on this blog. Okay, not this exact dish, but some form of tofu "steak" makes it onto my dinner plate just about weekly. It's one of my lazy weeknight dinners, usually served atop a salad or alongside some type of cooked veggie side dish.
The balsamic tofu steak is my favorite, and the version that I probably make most frequently, but If I'm making something that doesn't work with balsamic vinegar, I'll use something else - a little lemon or lime juice, some other type of vinegar, any type saucey flavory thing I've got hanging around, or sometimes just basic salt and pepper. I decided to dress it up here with some sautéed red peppers and basil, but feel free to use any type of veggie topping or skip it altogether - I do all the time.
There are a couple of keys to creating an awesome tofu steak. First, press your tofu, and press it well. Get all the water out that you can. Excess moisture is what will keep it from browning nicely on the outside, and prevent the inside from taking on a nice firm texture. You might even want to stick your tofu slabs in the microwave for a minute before you throw them in the pan, as this will squeeze out just a little bit more moisture. Also, use a good nonstick skillet. Well seasoned cast iron works great, but nonstick coated works too, as long as it's in good shape and relatively good quality. Finally, use good balsamic vinegar. You'll get a nice thick, slightly sweet reduction, as opposed to something watery and a little too sour if you go with cheap stuff.
Balsamic Tofu Steaks with Sautéed Red Peppers and Basil
For the Sautéed Red Peppers
- 1 ½ tsp. olive oil
- 1 red bell pepper diced
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
- ¼ cup sliced fresh basil leaves
- salt and pepper to taste
For the Balsamic Tofu Steaks
- 1 lb. extra firm tofu drained and pressed at least 20 minutes
- 1 ½ tsp. olive oil
- 3-4 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
Make the Sautéed Red Peppers
Place oil in medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add bell pepper and garlic. Sauté 2-3 minutes, until pepper is tender crisp. Stir a few times to mix everything.
Transfer to a bowl and add balsamic vinegar, basil, salt and pepper.
Make the Balsamic Tofu Steaks
Cut tofu in half width wise, then cut each half in half thickness wise, so you have four slabs.
Place oil in skillet (use the same skillet as you used for the peppers) over medium high heat. Arrange tofu slabs in a single layer in skillet. Cook about 4 minutes, until browned on bottoms, then gently flip and cook another 4 minutes.
Reduce heat to medium. Drizzle tofu slabs with balsamic vinegar. Cook 1 minute, flip and cook 1 minute more, until balsamic forms a thick and sticky coating on tofu.
Transfer tofu steaks to plates and top with red pepper mixture.