Skeptics be warned! We are talking about grilling tofu. Seriously. We don't joke about grilling...unless it's a really good joke.
You might think that tofu is a tasteless cube of who-knows-what. But really it's a silky block of the true chameleon product - soy beans, or really soy milk curds - just waiting for you to give it your own flare and favorite flavors and of course give it an even meatier texture by throwing it on the grill so it earns some smoke and a few char marks. We're not going to pretend like it's pulled pork but it is pretty darn tasty - especially with a sticky-sweet hoisin and soy sauce marinade - and it's perfect to please any vegetarians or vegans that you might have coming to your barbecue.
We know, it's a little "out-of-the-box" (ironically considering it's rectangular shape) but open your barbecue menu a little and give tofu a chance.
CHARRED HOISIN-SOY GRILLED TOFU with ROASTED ASPARAGUS
PREP TIME: 10 minutes, plus marinating overnight
COOK TIME: 20 minutes
RECOMMENDED PELLETS: Hickory, Mesquite, Apple or Cherry
SERVES: 2 to 4
1/2 cup hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 green onion, thinly sliced
1 block of extra firm tofu (make sure that it's extra firm tofu so that it holds up well)
Toasted sesame seeds, for garnish
Additional sliced green onions, for garnish
1 bunch of asparagus, rinsed and stalk-ends trimmed
Kosher salt and pepper, to taste
Start by pressing your tofu to remove as much liquid as possible. Do this by placing the tofu between two cutting boards and weighing the top one down with a couple of heavy cans.
You'll see the liquid pooling around the tofu. Let it sit for an hour or two, periodically tipping the liquid into the sink. This will make the tofu denser and even meatier and more absorbent to any flavors you want to infuse in it.
Now you're ready to marinate it. Mix together the hoisin, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, lime juice, sesame oil, minced garlic clove and green onion.
Carefully slice tofu into 1-inch thick cubes or strips. If you're using skewers, cubes are best, but if you'll be placing your tofu directly on your grill, larger strips are better.
Place the marinade and the tofu in a shallow dish, tossing to cover all of the tofu evenly, and allow to marinate for at least one hour, preferably overnight. Occasionally gently mix up the tofu or spoon the marinade over the top to allow the marinade to evenly flavor all of the cubes of tofu. You can also use a zip-lock bag instead of a dish.
On the day of cooking, start the Traeger on Smoke with the lid open until the fire is established (4 to 5 minutes).
Thread the tofu onto the skewers and prep the asparagus.
Spread the asparagus onto a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil and season generously with kosher salt and pepper.
Smoke the skewers of tofu on the Traeger for about 10 to 15 minutes. They won't need much time to absorb a good smoke taste. After they've smoked, remove the skewers from the Traeger and turn the heat up to High and preheat, lid closed, for 10 to 15 minutes.
Place the skewers and the asparagus on the grill and cook for about 20 minutes, rotating the skewers every 5 minutes and brushing with the marinade. Give the asparagus a good turn about halfway through. (Because the stalk-ends of asparagus are more fibrous and take longer to cook, we suggest placing the asparagus so that the tips face in and the ends face out, where it tends to be hotter. This will help them cook more evenly.)
You'll know the tofu is done when you can see those lovely grill marks. See! Even tofu can have grill marks!
Remove from the grill and top the tofu with some toasted sesame seeds and more green onions. Just taste it! It cleans up pretty good and is quite yummy.
Hoisin Soy Grilled Tofu Recipe.docx (12.63 kb)