Sweet, tender, golden slices of tofu, creamy chunks of avocado, and a tart relish made from brilliant carrots and perky poblano: just add tortillas (preferably fresh), and dig in.
There are a few steps here, mostly due to pressing the tofu, then marinating the tofu, and of course, making the tortillas. Nothing's difficult (and the firmer your tofu, the easier it is to throw together), but it all takes time, so save this one for a day you're in the mood to cook, or when you have a friend on hand to sip wine with you to pass the time effortlessly. In a pinch, use store-bought tortillas.
Finally, these make great little stacks with the thicker tortillas that come out of the MSV kitchen but you could easily wrap this into a taco with commercial tortillas. Or if you're feeling froggy, make sopes, and spread on a generous layer of refried beans before putting down the tofu for a dinner dreams are made of.
Sweet Tea-Marinated Cornmeal-Crusted Tofu Tortilla Stack (or Taco)
yields 8 stacks/tacos
For the tofu:
14 oz extra or super firm tofu, drained
1 1/2 cups water
1 family-size black tea bag
1/4 cup natural cane sugar (evaporated cane juice)
juice of half a lime
1/2 cup cornmeal
3/4 tsp fine sea or kosher salt
freshly cracked black pepper
For the slaw:
1 large poblano
1 very large or 2 small carrots (about 4 oz total weight)
juice of half a lime
1 TBSP olive oil
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
8 corn tortillas
flesh of 1 avocado, sliced into eighths
hot sauce (optional)
Wrap the tofu in a folded, clean (non-terry) kitchen towel and place a heavy object on top. Let press 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, make tortillas or heat prepared tortillas, if using. Hold in a warm oven.
When tofu is almost done pressing, heat 1 1/2 cups water and place tea bag in a wide, shallow, heatproof dish. Pour hot water over bag and let steep 3 minutes. Meanwhile, slice tofu into 8 rectangles. Remove tea bag, and add sugar, salt, and lime. Whisk until sugar is dissolved. Add tofu in a single layer and let marinate 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, shred/julienne the carrot and poblano (feel free to use a julienne or vegetable peeler, or a good knife if you're comfortable with one). Whisk together lime, oil, cumin, coriander, and pinch salt. Pour over vegetables and toss well. It will be quite tart, but will mellow a bit as it sits.
Heat a large nonstick skillet or griddle over medium heat. Whisk together cornmeal, salt, and a crack of black pepper. When cooking surface is hot, gently remove a slice of tofu from the marinade, let excess drip off, dredge in cornmeal, and cook about 4 minutes on each side, until crisp and browned in spots. Repeat with all slices, working in batches (in a large skillet, four slices should fit comfortably at one time).
Give the slaw one last toss and drain off excess dressing. To serve as stacks, layer tortilla, tofu, and avocado, then top with slaw. Serve with hot sauce, if desired.