Seared Tofu

16 ounces extra-firm tofu
3 tablespoons oyster sauce
3 tablespoons fish sauce (optional)
3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 nub ginger, freshly grated
2 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
5 tablespoons dark sesame oil
salt and pepper

Put the block of tofu on a cutting board, propped up to slope down toward the sink (or, you could just use a plate.) Top it with a sturdy plate. Weigh the plate down with a couple of your favorite textbooks or other flat, heavy objects . Allow the water to seep out of the tofu for at least an hour. Drain off any remaining water. This will keep the tofu firm when cooking, instead of watery.

Preheat oven to 450. Combine the oyster sauce, fish sauce, rice wine vinegar, ginger, garlic, 3 tablespoons of the sesame oil, salt and pepper in a large bowl, whisking together. Adjust seasoning per your taste.

Cut the tofu into desired pieces, either 1 inch cubes for a stir fry type dish or large flat rectangles for patties/sandwiches. Toss tofu into the marinade. Coat well and allow the tofu to marinate for about an hour.

Bring a cast iron skillet or a large sauté pan to high heat and pour in the remaining sesame oil. When the oil is very hot, carefully place all the tofu cubes in the skillet (it may splatter so be careful). Cook about 4 minutes, or until the bottom of the tofu has browned. Turn carefully and brown the other side.

Pour any remaining marinade over the top of the tofu. Slide the skillet into the oven and cook for about 5 minutes.

Serve with stir fried vegetables, on toasted bread with sauteed spinach, or as a side dish.


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