Tofu, Provenal Style
MAKES: 4 servings
TIME: 40 minutes
Hardly anyone in Provence eats tofu (yet), but combining it with the traditional, straightforward, and super-savory ingredients of that area makes for an excellent dish. It’s best to start with one of the fried tofus (Crispy Panfried Tofu or Deep-Fried Tofu) here, but frozen and pressed tofu are also good, as is plain firm tofu. Do not use store-bought pressed (or smoked) tofu, as its Asian flavors will clash with those of the sauce.
If you like, add some cubed zucchini or eggplant along with the onions and peppers.
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 large or 2 medium onions, chopped
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and chopped
Large pinch saffron threads (optional)
1 teaspoon fresh marjoram, oregano, or thyme or 1/4 teaspoon dried
2 tablespoons drained capers
2 cups chopped tomato (canned is fine), with juices
1 cup good-quality black or green olives or a mixture, pitted
11/2 to 2 pounds firm to extra-firm tofu, prepared by any of the methods in Pressed or Extra-Firm Tofu or simply blotted dry, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Chopped fresh parsley leaves for garnish
Put the oil in a large, deep skillet, preferably non-stick, over medium heat. When hot, add the garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until it begins to take on some color, just a minute or so. Add the onions and the bell pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the saffron, herb, and capers and stir, then add the tomato and olives. Stir, bring to a boil, and cook until the sauce thickens a bit, about 10 minutes.
Add the tofu and cook, stirring once or twice, until it’s swollen slightly and heated through, about 5 minutes. Taste and add salt if necessary and plenty of black pepper. Garnish and serve.