Sesame Crusted Tofu can be amazingly crisp and flavorful! Unfortunately, tofu in general is often the butt of jokes about bad food and gets a bad rap. Some of it deserving (there are some pretty terrible tofu dishes out there), others are completely unwarranted. I think some of that bad press comes from trying to make tofu something it’s not. In the words of my friend’s son when she served him ‘soysage’ for the first time, ‘They did a really good job of making it look like sausage…they did an even better job of making it NOT taste like sausage.”
Instead of making tofu a meat analogue, I think it’s best used when prepared in such a way that complements its integrity. With that said, I like to prepare tofu similarly to the way I like to prepare Ahi Tuna – comparable in preparation and presentation without claiming to taste like the prized fish (which in my opinion, would be a sin). The marinade helps to infuse a bit of flavor into the tofu, which absorbs it like a sponge. Conversely, given it’s spongy nature, the panko-sesame mixture adds a wonderful crunch that is definitely needed – creating a delicious balance of flavor and texture.
The dipping sauce was inspired from a dish made by my friend and very talented chef. The actual recipe to her sauce is a closely guarded secret, so I won’t even try to replicate all of its complex flavors, but I have made a very basic adaptation that adds a complimentary acid to the dish and marries beautifully with the other flavors!
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