Marsala, Marsala, (Tofu) Marsala

A couple weeks ago Katie and I took a break from dining out and actually decided to cook. Our friend Sabrina pointed me to a recipe for Tofu Marsala which seemed interesting. Always up for something new, we gave it a shot. What makes it funny, and gives my family an infinite amount of teasing fodder, is that it’s a mushroom heavy dish.

Now you have to understand. When I was a child, I believed that mushrooms were the devil. Squishy, flavorless and tough to chew, I didn’t see the attraction. And the idea of eating fungus was just gross. Of course, as I child I believed most vegetables were either A) Gross or B) a work of the dark lord Satan. As I grew older, however, I learned that mushrooms are not the work of the devil, only CANNED mushrooms were. I love fresh mushrooms. I love buying a variety of wild mushrooms and using them in place of the typical white or champagne type. I usually can’t AFFORD that, but I love to do it.

This meant that mushrooms were off the satanic-panic list. Now, I may rock with the horned-lord Beelzebub as an adult, but my list hasn’t gone away. You see I still believe that pickles and broccoli are still the work of some dark, evil power, sent to torture taste buds, stomachs and souls with disgusting, gassy food. Do not question me on this. I can sense evil in these vegetables. Lesser demons include beets, brussel sprouts, and canned asparagus.

I digress. The Tofu Marsala is heavy on the mushrooms. We made some mistakes in judgment when preparing a side dish, though. Don’t put this dish over rice. The rice ultimate soaks up the sauce, and takes away the flavor. Also, 6 cups of mushrooms seemed excessive. Maybe that’s me, but the tofu seemed lost to the mushrooms. I’d say go with 4 or 5 to balance things out a bit better. Use your own judgment of course.

Tofu Marsala (adapted from Eating Well)
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 package extra-firm tofu, drained, rinsed and cut crosswise into eight 1/2-inch-thick slices
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 large shallots, minced
1 teaspoon dried thyme
4-5 cups sliced cremini or white mushrooms
1/2 cup dry Marsala wine
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 cup vegetable broth
1 tablespoon tomato paste

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

Whisk 1/4 cup cornstarch, flour, salt and pepper in a shallow dish. Pat tofu with paper towel to remove excess moisture.

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Dredge 4 tofu slices in the flour mixture, add them to the pan and cook until crispy and golden, about 3 minutes per side. Place the tofu on a baking sheet and transfer to the oven to keep warm. Repeat with another tablespoon of oil and the remaining tofu, adjusting the heat if necessary to prevent scorching.

Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, shallots and thyme to the pan. Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring constantly, until the shallots are slightly soft and beginning to brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring often, until tender and lightly browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in Marsala and simmer until slightly reduced, about 1 minute.

Whisk the remaining 2 teaspoons cornstarch with broth and tomato paste in a small bowl. Stir into the mushroom mixture, return to a simmer and cook, stirring constantly, until thick and glossy, about 4 minutes. To serve, spoon the hot sauce over the tofu.

Serves 4

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