Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Summer Squash Etouffee, Louisiana Style Grilled Tofu, Russian Bananas

It's Fat Tuesday and that means everyone should be eating delicious food native to the home of Mardi Gras, Louisiana. Here I make a vegan version of traditional Etouffee (usually served with crawfish or shrimp, yuck!) with summer squash and zucchini. Etouffee means "smothered" and both vegetables soak up all these the great flavors in no time at all. Great served over rice or potatoes, I used Russian Banana potatoes, a kind of fingerling potato to use as a bed for this dish.
If you have grilled tofu in the past, and found that it sticks pretty bad, that is because your grill isn't hot enough! When searing hot, lay the tofu on the grill and let the grill tell you when to flip the tofu. After 7 minutes, my tofu lifted beautifully and had great grill marks.

Large chunks of summer squash and zucchini smothered in a rich tomato, red pepper and celery stew, served over roasted russian banana potatoes tossed in fresh and dried herbs. Serve with a side of grilled tofu rubbed in traditional Louisianan rub.

Summer Squash Etouffee
3 tbl extra virgin olive oil
1/2 small red onion, medium dice
1/2 small spanish onion, medium dice
2 celery stalks, small dice
1 red bell pepper, medium dice
1 cup shiitake mushrooms, rough chop
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbl ap flour
1 cup vegetable broth
1-15oz can diced tomatoes
1 bay leaf
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 large zucchini, large rounds
1 large summer squash, large rounds
1 tbl salt, divided
1 tsp-1 tbl hot sauce, to taste
3 tbl freshly chopped parsley
2 tbl freshly chopped basil

Heat the oil in a dutch oven or large saute pan. Add the onions, celery, red pepper and 1 tsp of salt. Saute over medium-high heat until the onions are translucent and the other vegetables are soft. Add the mushrooms and garlic and saute 4 minutes more until they start to brown. Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and mix to coat and cook out the raw flour flavor, 2 minutes. Add the vegetable broth, tomatoes, bay leaf, cayenne, remaining 2 tsp of salt and pepper to taste and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes. Add the zucchini, summer squash and hot sauce to taste and continue to simmer, covered for 10 more minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings and toss in parsley and basil off the heat.

Russian Bananas
10 fingerlings, halved lengthwise
3 tbl extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp dried rosemary
salt and pepper
2 garlic cloves, grated
3 tbl freshly chopped parsley

Preheat the oven to 425.
Bring a large pot of salted water and the fingerlings to a boil. Boil until the potatoes just start to get tender but are not cooked completely. Drain and pat dry.
While still warm, toss the potatoes with oil, dried rosemary, salt and pepper to taste and grated garlic.
Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast for 15 minutes until they start to brown and have cooked through fully. Toss with fresh parsley and serve.

Louisiana Style Grilled Tofu
16 oz extra firm tofu, drained, pressed and cut into large cubes
1 tbl salt, paprika, black pepper each
1/2 tsp cayenne, garlic powder, onion powder each
1/4 tsp dried oregano, dried thyme each
1 tbl vegan worcestershire sauce
3-4 dashes hot sauce, more or less to taste
2 tbl canola oil or canola spray
1 scallion, sliced for garnish

Toss the cubes of tofu with all the spices to coat completely. Then drizzle with hot sauce and worcestershire and rub to coat. Store in a plastic bag and marinate for at least 30 minutes, 2 hours is great, overnight is best.
Preheat a grill or grill pan over high heat. Brush the grill pan with oil and add the tofu. Cook, turning on each side for 20 minutes total or until the tofu is firm and has grill marks. Garnish with scallions

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