I am not typically a fan of dishes that feature tofu as centerpiece. In fact, for someone with a pseudo-vegetarian diet, I am not a big fan of tofu altogether. It's a texture thing. Unless it's fried and masked by delightful other flavors (as in Pad Thai), tofu often seems mushy, spongy, and sort of flavorless to me. So I was skeptical about grilling a "burger" made entirely of tofu.
But in the spirit of trying new things, I gave grilled lemon-basil tofu burgers a shot for this Saturday's match vs. Real Salt Lake. To my delight, the result was both crispy and flavorful. Dousing the tofu slices in garlicky, basily, lemony marinade certainly helped. Slathering the bun with a roasted garlic mayonnaise and tomato slices also helped. But I credit the grilling method for much of this dish's success. The direct heat of the grill allowed for a nicely browned exterior and chewy interior.
Note: Do make sure to really drain the tofu prior to slicing and marinating it. This is important if you desire firm, chewy tofu as opposed to squishy tofu. To do this, I place a layer of paper towels on a plate, lay the tofu on top, cover it with another layer of paper towels, and top the whole thing with something flat and heavy (such as a plate with a book on top).
Grilled Lemon-Basil Tofu Burgers
Adapted from Cooking Light, August 2006
1/3 cup (a handful) finely chopped basil
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
2 tablespoons honey
Freshly grated rind of one lemon
Juice of one lemon (or about 1/4 cup)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 garlic cloves minced
1 lb extra firm tofu
6 good quality sandwich rolls or hamburger buns
Optional toppings: arugula, tomato slices, and roasted garlic mayonnaise
1. Drain and press tofu to remove excess liquid. Slice into 6 equal slices (about 1/2 inch thick). Lay slices in a jelly roll pan or tupperware container.
2. Combine first 9 ingredients in a small bowl and whisk together. Brush both sides of tofu slices with mixture; reserve remaining mixture. Let tofu stand for 1 hour.
3. Prepare grill.
4. Place tofu slices on grill rack and grill until golden brown outside (about 3-4 minutes per side). Brush tofu with reserved lemon-basil mixture.
5. Spread a tablespoon of roasted garlic mayonnaise (or condiment of your choice) on the bottom half of a hamburger bun. Top with one or two tofu slices, a tomato slice, and a handful of arugula.
|"What is this, grilling for bunnies?"|
Despite grimacing through a two-nil defeat at the hands of RSL's second string (and losing our two starting central midfielders for next Sunday's game in Houston), my parking lot companions kept in good spirits post-match with a rousing game of trash can soccer.
|photo credit: Joe Butler|