Cravings are totally unreasonable sometimes. They make you do crazy things. Like, make a big pot of chicken soup in July, or drink wheat beers in January. Who knows why we want the things we want when we want them. We just do. Not to mention, these cravings are at times so strong that they cannot be ignored.
But what do you do when what you want is not even available to you? My mom makes some of the best fried fish I have ever tasted (yes I am biased, but seriously it is good), and it has been way to long since I have had some. For some reason, I have been fixated on eating it for a week now. Problem is, to make it properly, you need good quality, freshwater fish. I do not have access to this, nor do I have the means to acquire it myself. And store bought fish just will not cut it for this particular application.
So..........When you don't have what you need, you improvise. And hope for the best.
Knowing full well that my mama would consider it sacrilege to substitute tofu when cooking anything, I did it anyway. I was desperate. Not to mention, I love tofu. Sorry mom, it's true.
It certainly was no early summer, no holds barred mid-west fish fry. But, it was good. Really good. It also served to quell my appetite for the aforementioned lake dwellers. At least for now.
Crispy Cornmeal Tofu
1 package extra firm tofu // 1/4 cup all purpose flour // 1 cup cornmeal // 1/2 tsp onion powder // 1/2 tsp garlic powder // 1/4 tsp. black pepper // 1 tsp salt // 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (optional) // 1 Tb. plain yogurt // Juice of 1/2 lemon // Canola oil for frying
Cut tofu into 1/4" thick slices. Place on kitchen towel set in a shallow pan (like a cookie sheet), place another kitchen towel on top along with a smaller pan weighted down with a couple pounds (i.e a small cast iron pan). This step should be done about 20-30 minutes before frying. You want to extract as much moisture from the tofu as possible, but not crush it. In a medium sized bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, and spices, mix to combine. In another bowl, mix together 1 cup water with yogurt and lemon juice. In a medium sized skillet (preferably cast iron) heat about 1/2" of oil over med. high heat. Working in batches, dip tofu in water yogurt mixture, then cover in cornmeal mix. Fry on both sides until golden brown and crispy. Drain on paper towels.
2 Tb. Dill Pickle (chopped fine) // 1 Tb. capers // 1/4 cup plain yogurt (yes, you can use mayo instead) // Juice of 1/2 lemon // 1 tsp. dill // 1 tsp. parsley // 1/2 tsp. Dijon // Louisiana style hot sauce to taste (optional)
Put it in a bowl. Mix it up
Baguette // Romaine, chopped // Red onion, sliced thin // Louisiana hot sauce
Smear the tartar on the bread. Stuff some Tofu in . Top it off with the lettuce, onion and hot sauce. Good to go.