I pity the 'fu

I have a love/hate relationship with tofu.

I love that it is a complete protein.

I hate that it is spongy and bland.

Normally I just toss some lightly seasoned cubes into a cold salad or hot soup and reap the heart healthy, muscle-building benefits while tolerating the lack of flavor and texture.

I wondered if there might be a little more to love if the tofu was cooked and seasoned properly so I cranked up the broiler with the intention of blackening it into a crisp, entrée worthy dinner.

That morning, I told husband so he could get as excited as I was.

Me: We’re having blackened tofu for dinner!

Husband: Hm.

Me: I know! Yay!

Fast forward to 5:00.

I started by pressing the water out of the tofu and cutting it into thin slices.

The easiest way to press tofu is sandwiched between two plates with a heavy object weighing down the top plate. The excess water will press out allowing for better texture and flavor absorption. It's an extra step worth taking.

Then I mixed maple syrup with spicy brown mustard and delicately brushed it on the tofu using a massive grill brush that was more appropriate for a yeti.

Next I blended a spicy rub of paprika, chipotle seasoning, garlic, and salt and gave the ‘fu a nice massage with it.

I let it marinate while I roasted some acorn squash and heated the broiler up.

At this point, husband shuffles into the kitchen and starts rooting through the refrigerator.

Me: What are you doing?

Husband: Heating up chicken.

Me: Why?

Husband: Because you said we’re having tofu for dinner.

Husband's pre-tofu dinner which consists of the breast of an apparently gargantuan chicken.

I finished up the squash, put the tofu under the broiler, and made a quick spinach salad. After 15 minutes, the tofu was charred, the squash was sliced, and the salad was dressed.

 I yelled to husband, who was geeking it out on the computer, that dinner was ready.

Husband: I’m not hungry. I had chicken.

Me: Bores holes into the back of husband’s head.

Husband: What? I didn’t know you were making tofu.

Me: Shoots laser beams of wifely wrath into his eyeballs.

Husband: This is good. Tastes like chicken!

Broiled Maple Mustard Tofu

1 block  (about 14 oz.) firm or extra firm tofu, sliced into 8 pieces

2 tablespoons maple syrup

2 teaspoons spicy brown mustard

For the dry rub:

2 teaspoons paprika

1/4 teaspoon chipotle powder

1/4 teaspoon garlic

dash salt.

Use the broiler setting on the oven or pre-heat to 525 degrees.

Mix together maple syrup and mustard.  In another bowl, combine dry rub ingredients. Brush both sides of the tofu slices with maple mustard and then sprinkle both sides with the dry rub. Use your fingers to “massage” in the seasonings. Broil for 18-22 minutes flipping half-way through cooking time. Tofu should be charred and crispy.

Makes 2-4 servings (depending on your appetite!)

Serve immediately.

Make enough for leftovers because this is even better the next day!

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