Serves 2 as a main, 6 as a starter.
Tofu is one of Japan’s most iconic foods — you can’t go far without eating it (or some soy product). This tofu dish celebrates umami spices such as shiitake & seaweed from our
Edo Spice. Inspired by a recipe in Heidi Swason’s wonderful cookbook, Near & Far.
For the tofu & marinade:
12 ounce block extra-firm tofu
¼ cup + 1 teaspoon canola oil
2 tablespoons mirin
2 tablespoons shiitake powder
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
Pinch of salt
1 batch miso jam (recipe follows)
2 scallions, thinly sliced on an angle, white & green parts
Zesty micro greens, such as arugula or cress
Drain the tofu, then cut it like a loaf of bread into six, ¾-inch thick slabs. Arrange the tofu in a single layer on paper or cloth tea towels, lay more towels on top & weight with a cutting board. Let stand for about 20 minutes to drain.
Meantime, make the marinade by whisking ¼ cup of the oil with the mirin, shiitake powder, ginger & a pinch of salt. It will be very spreadable but thick.
Transfer the tofu slabs to a plate or tray, arrange them in a single layer. Brush the tops with the marinade, then flip the slabs and coat the other side. Let stand for 30 minutes (or up to overnight, covered).
Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat & add the remaining teaspoon of oil. When the oil shimmers, add the tofu slabs to the pan in a single layer. (Don’t crowd the pan, work in batches if your skillet doesn’t accommodate all the slices graciously.) Cook without moving the tofu around until the underside is nicely browned, about 2 minutes. Flip the tofu slabs over & cook the other side until browned, about 2 minutes. Transfer the tofu to a serving plate.
Spread a small dollop of the miso jam on the top of each slab. Liberally sprinkle Edo Spice over the slabs, then artfully arrange a few bits of scallion and greens on top of each. Serve while the tofu is warm or at room temperature.
This “jam” is savory & sweet all at once. Work quickly when making the below recipe, so as not to overcook it. (Any leftovers can be used as a sandwich spread or in salad dressings.)
1 tablespoon mirin
2 tablespoons sake
6 tablespoons sweet white miso
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
In a small sauce pan, whisk the ingredients together until smooth. Set the pan over medium-low heat & stir continually until the sauce thickens enough to hold a soft peak — it will be just thick enough to “sit” on the tofu. Immediately take the pan off the heat & scoop the jam into a bowl (so that it doesn’t continue to cook from the pan’s residual heat).
Edo Spice takes its name from old Tokyo and is inspired by shichimi togarashi, the traditional Japanese “seven-spice.”
The blend combines high, bright notes of citrus and chili, with floral and nutty middle notes, and a warm, umami bass line — with the subtle, distinctive zing of sansho pepper as its finish.