Thursday, January 22, 2009

Luscious garlic tofu with pork and walnuts

This was inspired by and roughly based on "Tofu with luscious chili oil" from Hot, Sour, Salty, Sweet — a recipe from the Yunnan province of China. I made it less hot and used more Italian flavors, and served it over barley, though I imagine it would be good with pasta or rice or on its own with good, crusty bread. It is, as Naomi and Jeff say of the original, a good mid-winter meal, when quality seasonal vegetables are in short supply (or when you're a little tired of all your quality seasonal vegetables being root vegetables and winter squash...)

1. Make your garlic oil — put several tablespoons (or what Jamie Oliver would call "a couple of good glugs") of extra-virgin olive oil in the smallest saucepan you have, add 2-3 peeled cloves of garlic, and cook over the lowest possible heat for 8-10 minutes, until garlic is just slightly golden on the outside. Remove garlic and some of the oil to a mortar and pestle, smash well, and season with salt, pepper, and a few pinches of red pepper flakes.

2. Put a small handful of walnut pieces in a dry wok, and toast over medium-high heat until it smells of, well, toasted walnuts. Remove the walnuts and return wok to the heat.

3. Add 1/4 c. ground pork and stir-fry, breaking into small pieces, until completely browned (ground pork should have plenty of fat in it, so no need to add any oil first).

4. Push pork to the sides and add about 8 oz. of tofu, cut into largish (3/4" to 1") cubes. We're not trying to make the tofu brown and chewy here, so no need to press it beforehand. Add the walnuts and a small handful of kalamata olives, chopped. Toss all this together for 30-60 seconds, to heat through.

5. Remove wok from the heat, add the garlic-oil mixture and some or all of the garlic-flavored oil from the saucepan (leave it out if you're looking to be more low-fat, add it all if you're looking to be more luscious). Season to taste with salt and pepper.

No comments: