Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Pan-fried Tofu with Fennel Picante and Oven-roasted Potatoes

When I talked to my mom on the phone last night, she was in the middle of making baked hand cut French fries.  It was pure torture not to be there to enjoy some.  But since I had a couple of Russet potatoes in my fridge, I decided to do some roasted potatoes myself. 

I didn't have a plan for what I'd eat along with them to turn into something substantial for dinner, but as they were cooking the aroma just made me think:  fennel.  As in, fennel sausage.  Not that it was a craving for meat necessarily, but more like a distinct scent memory of that Italian peasant dish of pork with peppers and onions, or even sausage and peppers.  I contemplated mixing up some tofu in my food processor with gluten-free bread crumbs and seasoning, then decided that would be too time-consuming and possibly risky.  I just wanted the flavor, after all.

Instead, I sauteed some chopped onion in a pan, then as it started to brown I pushed it to the side and laid down some slices of tofu, letting them cook for about 5-10 minutes on each side until they were golden and firm.  Then I threw in a generous handful of fennel seeds, a chopped tomato, red pepper, and picante sauce and let it all cook for about 5 more minutes until it became thick.  In about the same amount of time, my potatoes were perfectly cooked after a couple minutes under the broiler.  The assembled meal was exactly the flavor profile I was craving - perfect!

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