I joined I Heart Cooking Clubs when Yotam Ottolenghi was featured chef and even though I worked my way through several recipes, I didn't manage to get to his Black Pepper Tofu from the book Plenty. Since he's featured chef once again, at least for this month, I thought I would finally give it a try.
I had no great love for tofu but I experimented with it when one of my daughters became vegetarian. She had no great love for it either until one day I fried it, a game changer for us both. Baking replaced frying when I discovered this method that produces the same tender nuggets with crisp crust. I used that method here, without a marinade, and made a few modifications to the sauce in this dish as well, replacing the butter with just a few spoons of vegetable oil and using half the black peppercorns since the original recipe calls for more than a tablespoon per serving.
The first few bites were fantastic. The sticky sauce coating the crisp tofu was salty, sweet and caramel-y. And then the black pepper kicked in. Described as fiery in the headnotes, this dish was actually mouth-numbingly hot. I felt the level of heat totally overwhelmed all of the lovely flavours in it. Given how much promise it showed at the start and how much we like our baked tofu, I will make this again but I will totally wimp out and use even less pepper.
Visit here to see the other dishes from featured chef Yotam Ottolenghi.