Crispy Tofu Steaks with Broccoli Rabe and Romesco
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Tofu comes in all different styles and textures, but our favorite way to eat it is crispy. And if you’ve never tried it yourself, this recipe for crispy tofu steaks with broccoli rabe and romesco (from Lindsay Maitland Hunt’s new cookbook, Help Yourself) is a good place to start.
“One of the funny things about writing a cookbook,” she writes, “is that people will ask you the same question every time: What’s your favorite recipe? As though I could choose! But if I were pressed to name my top ten, this recipe would be in the group. It’s flavorful, easy to make, and packed with plant-based protein.”
The crispy tofu was enough to reel us in, but what really impressed us was Maitland Hunt's ingenious shortcut for the sauce. “Romesco is a classic Spanish sauce made with blended almonds,” she continues. “My thought: Why use almonds when almond butter is already at the perfect consistency? It’s a creamy, tangy delight, perfect with just about anything it touches.” We tend to agree.
Excerpted from Help Yourself © 2020 by Lindsay Maitland Hunt. Photography © 2020 by Linda Pugliese. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.
1 cup packed drained store-bought roasted red peppers
¼ cup natural almond butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 garlic cloves, smashed
1 teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Crispy Tofu and Broccoli Rabe
One 14-ounce package extra-firm tofu, halved through the center horizontally, then halved again to make 2 wide planks
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 large bunch broccoli rabe or Broccolini (about 12 ounces), halved lengthwise through the stems if thick
½ cup Cheater’s Romesco
2 tablespoons chopped roasted almonds
Flaky sea salt (optional)
1. Make the Romesco: In a blender or mini food processor, combine the red peppers, almond butter, olive oil, vinegar, tomato paste, garlic, salt and pepper. Blend on high until smooth. Set aside. (The romesco will keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
2. Make the Crispy Tofu and Broccoli Rabe: Line a small rimmed baking sheet with a clean dish towel or paper towels. Place the tofu on top in a single layer, then top with another towel. Top with a second baking sheet and place something on top to weigh the tray down, like two cans of beans. Let sit for at least 30 minutes or refrigerate up to overnight. (Don’t skip this step! It’s crucial to getting a crispy final result.)
3. In a large nonstick skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. (You can do this in a smaller skillet in batches; just add 1 tablespoon of the oil at a time.) Pat the pressed tofu dry and season on both sides with the salt. Add the tofu to the hot oil and press down on it very firmly with a flat-bottomed spatula or a pot lid for the first minute. Cook, turning once, until golden brown and crispy, 5 to 6 minutes per side, pressing again with the pot lid for the first minute after flipping.
4. Meanwhile, fill a large pot with 1 inch of water and put a steamer insert inside. Cover and bring the water to a simmer. Add the broccoli rabe, re-cover, and steam until tender but with a little bite, 6 to 8 minutes.
5. Serve the tofu and broccoli rabe dolloped with the romesco and sprinkled with the almonds and flaky sea salt (if you want).
Note: I like to use a small lid that fits in the pan to press down on the tofu, which will help you press the full surface area. Wear an oven mitt to prevent oil from splattering your forearm.
Crispy Tofu + Broccoli Rabe