April 8, 2013 by Meg G.
Warning: this fancy, gourmet meal may up your cooking reputation considerably. Be prepared for an increase in enthusiastic replies to your next dinner party. For real.
This Mark Reinfeld dish comes via Vegetarian Times’ April/May issue. Mark states that these cutlets “could easily be found on the menu of a high-end restaurant” and yet, this entrée is simple enough for a novice. I promise. The key to your successful execution (without dashing around the kitchen like a maniac) is prepping all of the components ahead of time. The results are a totally gourmet meal, ready in just about 50 minutes.
If you’re wary of serving a tofu-centric meal, don’t be. The marinade of olive oil, maple syrup, and soy sauce results in a slightly sweet and crispy tofu cutlet. The garnish should not be skipped; the raw red peppers, toasted pine nuts, and asparagus spears offer great crunch and flavor. (Don’t make me get on my garnish soapbox again!) Lay it all over this lemony, fresh asparagus purée for gorgeous presentation and excellent flavor! Here goes!
Grilled Tofu Cutlets with Asparagus Purée – Mark Reinfeld via Vegetarian Times April/May 2013
For the Tofu Cutlets:
- 14 oz. extra-firm tofu, drained and sliced lengthwise into 4 cutlets
- 2 Tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup
For the Purée:
- 1 lb. asparagus, trimmed and chopped (2 cups)
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large leek, white and light green parts, thinly sliced (1.5 cups)
- 1 clove garlic, minced (1 teaspoon)
- 1/4 cup loosely packed basil leaves
- 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 Tablespoons toasted pine nuts
For the Garnish:
- Toasted pine nuts
- 1/4 cup diced red bell pepper
- Reserved asparagus spears
- Stir together the soy sauce, olive oil, and maple syrup in a 9-inch square baking dish. Add the tofu cutlets and marinate 30 minutes, turning occasionally. It’s okay if the cutlets overlap a bit – just be sure to spoon some of the marinade over them thoroughly throughout the 30 minutes.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Blanch asparagus for 2 – 3 minutes, or until bright green and just tender. Transfer the asparagus to a large bowl of ice water to cool. Drain, chop, and reserve the tips for garnish.
- Heat oil in a small saucepan over medium-low heat; add leek, and sprinkle with salt, if desired. Cover and cook for 9 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and cook 1 more minute.
- Blend asparagus, leek, basil, lemon, pine nuts, and 1/3 cup water until smooth. This can take quite a bit of blending, so be patient. Return to the small saucepan and season with salt and pepper, if desired. Keep warm.
- Heat grill or grill pan over medium-high heat. Drain tofu cutlets and grill about 5 minutes on each side, basting with remaining marinade from time to time.
- To serve: Spread 1/4 cup asparagus purée on the plate. Place 1 tofu cutlet in the center of the sauce and garnish with reserved asparagus tips, bell pepper, and pine nuts.
Mark’s recipe calls the purée a sauce, but I just couldn’t get it to a super smooth, saucy consistency. No matter – it works just as well as a purée!
I couldn’t stop raving about this meal. It really is a great combination of flavors and it’s the perfect spring meal. (Welcome back, asparagus!) We haven’t rolled our grill out of storage, but these cutlets would probably be really nice on the barbecue.
Get ready to be the most popular dinner hosts on the block…