This is certainly not the prettiest of dishes I have ever made, but damn was it tasty! I am by no means a Southerner. I am from pretty much as high north as you can go in Michigan. Therefore, I have never eaten Southern food, nor have I ever really felt the need to eat any kinds of Southern looking foods in the past. This has changed recently once I started working with B, a lovely intern from the Natural Gourmet Institute, the culinary school I graduated from in NYC. She happens to be from Charlotte, North Carolina, and is the sweetest person ever! She also helped disabuse me of all of my preconceived notions I hadn't even realized I had about Southern people. Weird, right? Anyway, she was always telling me about foods her mother would prepare for her and things that are typically Southern. Keep in mind though that she is a culinary graduate living in NYC, so she certainly has creative, delicious ideas, but still talks about the foods she ate. So this was my tribute to her in a not-really Southern way, but a Southern-inspired way, with the greens and hominy. I'm not even sure where I came up with the idea for the tahini baked tofu, but there it is, and it was a tasty meal.
Tofu with a Tahini Sauce, Rice, Brazilian Braised Kale, Hominy
Yields enough to coat 1 lb. tofu
1/4 cup tahini
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon tamari
1 teaspoon agave
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 pinches black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
pinch cayenne, or to taste
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly oil a baking tray with spray oil and set aside until ready to use.
2. Remove the tofu from the package, carefully squeezing out some of the water and being sure not to break the tofu. Cut in half the hamburger way, then cut each half into 4 slices. Lay each slice on the prepared sheet tray and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with sea salt and black pepper.
3. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until the top has browned. Use a spatula to flip over the tofu. Sprinkle with additional sea salt and black pepper and continue to bake for an additional 10-15 minutes.
4. While the tofu is continuing to bake, prepare the tahini sauce.
5. In a medium saucepan, add all of the ingredients except for the water and tahini. Mix together the water and tahini in a separate small bowl until smooth and the tahini has thinned.
6. Add the thinned tahini to the rest of the ingredients in the pan. Whisk everything together and turn the heat to medium-low. You only want to heat the sauce. Be sure to stir the contents continuously.
7. Once the sauce is simmering, add the tofu into the pot, flipping each piece to coat.
8. Serve with additional sauce on top.