Monday, September 01, 2008

Twice-Fried Tofu Tortilla Soup

Lunch 9/01

Twice-Fried Tofu Tortilla Soup

A rare lunch entry -- but it was just so tasty, I couldn't resist ;)

We added some Teese, smoked twice-fried tofu and avocado to the tomato/chile soup base -- so, so good...

Twice-Fried Tofu

16 oz. extra-firm tofu cut into eight rectangular cutlets
canola oil

Cut the tofu into eight individual cutlets.

If you're smoking the tofu, add the hickory chips to your smoker box and process for 20-30 minutes. Remove the tofu from smoker box.

Over med-high heat add the canola oil and pan-fry until golden brown on both sides (about 8 minutes). Remove from pan and let cool for at least 10 minutes. Or, you can refrigerate the tofu at this point, up to a day in advance.

Slice the tofu diagonally into strips about a 1/4" thick. Add about 1 tsp. of canola oil to the pan, and return to med-high heat, turning occasionally for 3-5 minutes. Lower the heat to low, add tamari to taste (about 1 tbs.) and continue to cook for an addition 1-2 minutes until the tofu begins to get crispy.

If you don't have a smoker, you can add 1 tsp. of smoked paprika right after the tamari.

Twice-Fried Tofu Tortilla Soup
Serves 6
(adapted from "Mexican Everyday" by Rick Bayless with Deann Groen Bayless)

4 cups vegetable stock
Twice-Fried Tofu (from above)
1 large dried pasilla chili, stemmed and seeded
1 can (15 ounces) diced tomatoes in juice
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium white onion, sliced 1/4-inch thick
3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1 large sprig fresh epazote, if available
About 1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 large ripe avocado, peeled and cubed
2 teaspoons lime juice
1 1/2 cups shredded Teese
About 4 cups roughly broken tortilla chips
1 large lime, cut into 6 wedges, for serving

Toast the chili by turning it an inch or two above an open flame on a gas stove for a few seconds, or until its aroma fills the kitchen. Or toast in a dry pan over medium heat, pressing it flat for a minute, then flipping it over and pressing again. Break chili into pieces and put into a blender jar along with the tomatoes with their juice. (A food processor will work, but won't completely purée the chili.) Purée until almost smooth.

Heat oil in a 4-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until golden, about 7 minutes. Scoop the onion and garlic into the blender or processor; process until purée is as smooth as possible.

Return saucepan to heat. When hot, add purée and stir nearly constantly until thickened to the consistency of a loose tomato paste, about 6 minutes. Add broth and epazote if using. Bring just to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 15 minutes. Taste and add salt and cilantro.

If using avocado, toss with lime juice. Put avocado, twice-fried tofu, Teese and tortilla chips in separate bowls and serve on the side of the soup.

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