Tofu. It gets a bad rap, doesn't it? In my experience, one mention of tofu and people around you act like they just saw a mouse in your kitchen. "Ew! Tofu!"
But here's the thing: tofu is great. It is an inexpensive source of protein; it can be cubed and tossed into soups and salads, it can be blended into hummus and salad dressings for added creaminess, and it can be used to make scrumptious desserts. In other words, tofu is the food equivalent of that friend who everyone needs to invite to their party: the friend who can happily get along with anyone and who just makes things better in their own way. We all have that friend who can earnestly talk to our elderly aunt about her sciatica, but who can also talk politics, current events, and the relative merits of Chris Hemsworth versus Chris Evans, depending on the circle. Those easy-going, versatile friends are so valuable; you need at least one of those friends at every party you host.
And that's the great thing about tofu. Tofu fits in everywhere. Tofu takes on the flavours of whatever dish it is added to, and makes it even better. Tofu is the unsung hero of vegetarian cooking, and this recipe in particular will make you love it even more.
Press tofu: Drain liquid from tofu and place on a tea towel. Cover with a second tea towel, and put a plate over it. Set a heavy can on the plate to press the liquid out of the tofu (see photos below). This should take about 20-30 minutes.
After pressing, cut tofu into 1-inch cubes and arrange in a single layer in a baking dish.
Whisk together balsamic vinegar, olive oil, garlic, honey or maple syrup, soy sauce, and basil. Pour over tofu. Allow to marinate for 2 hours or overnight, turning the pieces of tofu occasionally.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Using a slotted spoon, remove tofu from marinade and transfer to a medium bowl. Sprinkle with cornstarch and toss until evenly coated. Arrange in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 30-45 minutes, or until outside is crispy.
Enjoy with rice and roasted vegetables!
NOTE: marinade can be reserved for drizzling over rice, vegetables, and tofu for an extra burst of flavour.
NOTE: Tofu can also be eaten cold, in a salad.
To press all the liquid out of the tofu, first place the block on a tea towel.
Cover with another tea towel and a plate. Set a heavy can on top of the plate and let it sit for 20-30 minutes.
Marinate the pressed tofu for at least two hours - the longer, the better!