Polenta with Crispy Tofu Milanese
Isn’t this funny that people often think that just because you’re vegetarian, you can’t have a “normal” meal? They assume that all you eat is lettuce, fruits and beans. Well not exactly, there’s much more to that especially today when every supermarket offers a wide array of vegetarian products such as textured meat and soy burgers. I never was a big fan of textured, fake meat and the only products of that type I buy, are veggie burgers and soy sausages. I rather buy plain, firm tofu and add to my recipes. It comes out much cheaper and you can make almost anything out of tofu. It’s extremely versatile. It can be used it in stir-fries, stews, burgers or as an egg replacer in egg dishes.
Today I prepared an all Italian dish, polenta with crispy tofu Milanese which obviously mimics veal Milanese. My version is vegan but if you’re not on a vegan diet, feel free to add grated parmesan to breadcrumbs and cream or butter to polenta. Also you might be concerned that I used 1/2 Tbsp of salt but trust me, it’s mixed with flour for breading so you end up with no more than 1/2 tsp of salt per portion. Remember that tofu needs either salt or soy sauce, otherwise it will taste awfully bland.
Ingredients (makes 2 portions):
1 cup yellow corn grits
4 cups vegetable stock or water
1 Tbsp margarine
Handful of parsley or basil, or thyme
For tofu Milanese:
1 block of firm or extra firm tofu (14 oz)
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 Tbsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 cup water
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
3/4 to 1 cup breadcrumbs
2 tsp dry Italian herb mix
Oil for frying
Slice block of tofu into roughly half inch thick slices. Cover with kitchen towel, place a heavy object on a top (book is perfect) and leave for 1 hour. The reason for that is to draw out excess moisture out of the tofu.
Meanwhile bring vegetable stock or water to a boil and slowly add polenta while whisking constantly. Keep whisking non stop for 1 min. Reduce the heat to low and simmer 2o-30 min stirring frequently.
Near the end season with salt and add parley or any other Italian herbs. To make it creamier add 1 Tbsp margarine.
In one container mix flour with 1/2 Tbsp salt and tsp garlic powder. In another container combine 1/4 cup water with Dijon mustard. In the 3rd container mix breadcrumbs with Italian herb blend. Dip each tofu slice first in flour, then in water and finally in breadcrumbs.
Heat the oil in the skillet and fry tofu slicer about 30-60 sec per side. Drain on a paper towel.
Nutrition facts for 1 portion (all ingredients yield 2 portions) if no fat is used in polenta and tofu is fried on 2 Tbsp canola oil:
Kilocalories 287.04 kcal, Protein 5.24 g, Carbohydrate 62.33 g
Total 1.16 g, Saturated Fat 0.23 g, Monounsaturated Fat 0.24 g, Polyunsaturated Fat 0.56 g, Cholesterol 0 mg
Dietary Fiber 3.04 g, Sugar 0.43 g
Kilocalories 343.4 kcal, Protein 18.86 g, Carbohydrate 19.03 g
Total 22.67 g, Saturated Fat 2.89 g, Monounsaturated Fat 11.18 g, Polyunsaturated Fat 7.7 g, Trans Fatty Acid 0.05 g, Cholesterol 0 mg
Dietary Fiber 2.6 g, Sugar 2.05 g