Thursday, October 25, 2007

Panko-Crusted Tofu Cutlets with Lemon-Caper Sauce

I know that this picture does not look so awesome and it's possible you're thinking the food itself doesn't look so great either, but I'm telling you it is! This is another recipe I tried out from one of my quick vegetarian meal cookbooks, Quick Fix Vegetarian, though unfortunately this was not a quick meal. It was actually kind of aggravating to make when I just wanted something fast.

Nevertheless, it turned out very tasty. You're supposed to coat slices of tofu in panko (Japanese bread crumbs that I've wanted to try out forever) and then pan fry them (and this was supposed to be a healthy cookbook?) Well the panko didn't want to stick to the tofu in the way the recipe suggested it would, so that part of the recipe was not so successful. Part of that could be due to my weak frying skills. The incredibly delicious and successful part was the sauce though! Oh what a wonderful wonderful sauce. I really wasn't expecting much from it but it far surpassed any expectations and made the longer preparation time worth it.

There was something so tasty about the combination of flavours - wine, onions, lemon. Next time I would chop the capers though as getting a bite of one is a bit too much for me, but I do like what they add to the sauce. And I know I could more finely chop my onions but I don't have a lot of patience to finely chop vegetables, especially when the knives we have aren't that sharp (ie. if I'm chopping leeks, I have to saw through them). I wouldn't make this exact recipe again but I will definitely make the sauce again. Maybe I'll use it on baked tofu, or over mashed potatoes, or sweet potatoes mmm. Let me know if you have a good idea for what I can do with this sauce!

Panko-Crusted Tofu Cutlets with Lemon-Caper Sauce
slightly modified from Quick Fix Vegetarian (Robin Robertson)

serves 2 as main or 4 as part

2 tablespoons tahini (sesame paste)
1/4 cup water
salt & freshly ground black pepper
2 cups panko bread crumbs
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus additional as needed
1 pound extra-firm tofu, cut into thin slices
1/4 cup onions, minced
2 tablespoons capers, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup vegetable broth
2 tablespoons margarine/butter
juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley, plus additional for garnish

Combine the tahini and water in a shallow bowl until blended. Season with salt and pepper and set aside. Place the panko in a shallow bowl and set aside.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season the tofu slices with salt and pepper to taste, then dip them into the tahini mixture and then into the panko crumbs. Fry the tofu on hot oil, turning once, lightly browned, working in batches as necessary. Remove the tofu from the skillet and keep warm.

In the same pan, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Add the onions and cook until softened, about 2 minutes. Add the capers, white wine, and vegetable broth and reduce by one-quarter. Stir in the margarine, lemon juice, and the 2 tablespoons parsley. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour the sauce over the tofu and garnish with parsley.

My notes: I didn't end up using all of the panko, or even half of them so I would just pour out a bit to start and add more as needed. I also didn't use up all of the water/tahini paste, so you could try halving that as well. The paste was very watery so perhaps add more tahini than the recipe calls for, which will hopefully help the panko stick to the tofu.


VeggieGirl said...

I've never used Panko before... these tofu cutlets look great; and that lemon-caper sauce is quite enticing!

Patricia said...

I think this sauce would become a wonderful dressing for any salad!

Mary said...

Great blog - I'm looking forward to trying out lots of the recipes here! The lemon-parsley-caper sauce from Deborah Madison's "Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone" is a personal favourite - it's probably quite similar to the lemon-caper sauce here, and it's fantastic over steamed broccoli!

kickpleat said...

wow, that sauce looks amazing! yummy.

Lyrically speaking said...

Ok, this looks easy to make, not sure if mine would come out as perfect :) I'll have to try it one day

eatme_delicious said...

veggiegirl: Aw thank you. :)

patricia: Maybe a beet salad! Yum. Thanks for the idea.

mary: Aw thanks for the kind words. I haven't tried Deborah Madison's recipe for that sauce though I do have the cookbook so I'll have to check it out.

kickpleat: Thanks!

lyrically speaking: Mine is far from perfect. I'm sure yours would be delicious!

eileen said...

actually, I think that looks Really awesome. Then I read the first line of the post! I will definitely be trying this sometime soon.

Anonymous said...

I tried this recipe last night... I agree that the sauce is AMAZING, but the tofu itself was very bland. The two didn't go together well. Next time I'll marinate and bake the tofu first. Or maybe put the sauce over a lentil salad instead.

eatme_delicious said...

eileen: Aw thanks. :) Hope you like it!

anonymous: Yea the tofu is definitely bland as it's just a bit of tahini and panko on them. Marinating them beforehand sounds great! I had this sauce over pasta recently and it was good though a lentil salad also sounds like it would be tasty.

Jasmine said...

This looks so yummy! I can't wait to try it! For some reason I've never thought of lemon and capers on tofu, but now its making my mouth water! I just tried a tofu dish that turned out really good, its on my food blog if you want to check it out. I know I'm always looking for new things to do with tofu.

eatme_delicious said...

jasmine: Thanks. :) I will definitely go and check out your tofu recipe as I too am always looking for new things to do with tofu!

jennifer said...

these look amazing! one of the my favorite dishes when i used to eat meat was chicken piccata. this sounds like a perfect substitute! Thanks!!


Kaitee said...

I made these tonight, only I marinated the tofu in soy sauce and lemon first. Oh, and I added a little flour to the sauce to make it thicker. It was pretty good though! My panko didn't stick well to my tofu either.

Kari said...

Love it! It's very similar to my favorite entree at Mother's! Thanks for sharing!

cheriboberi said...

OK, here's the improvement for more flavor:

Mix the tahini with lemon juice and vegetable broth instead of water, and add a small clove of garlic (minced)

When making the sauce, add a clove of garlic to the onions before pouring in the liquids.