The panko-crusted tofu had crunch and creaminess as only panko breadcrumbs wrapped around delicate silken tofu could have. Adding a contrasting sparkle were the fresh corn kernels, offset by the salty, sour, and umami flavours of corn salsa dressing.
The diverse textures and tastes in this dish were wonderfully complementary. Taking a bite of panko-crusted silken tofu was so satisfying on its own. But layering on the sweet, salty, and sour corn salsa to that sensation lifts it to another level.
Ensure that you do use the silken tofu, as opposed to a standard or firm tofu variety. In this dish, the type of tofu makes a huge difference (as learned from bitter experience). Firm tofu or even regular tofu is certainly easier to work with, but the sensation of biting into a panko crust surrounding silken tofu is something extra special. Firm tofu was more appropriate to use in this crispy tofu and curry sauce dish.
If you are paying attention, you will notice two additional components. One is tempura artichokes. They were good, but the dish didn’t need them. They are filed away for use in another recipe. The other is a roast head of garlic. Roast garlic goes with anything, including this panko-crusted tofu and corn sala.
Be sure to buy fresh corn on the cob, blanch it, then cut the kernels from the cob. Substituting the much blander frozen corn will result in a somewhat bland salsa.
Panko crusted tofu on a corn salsa
- 3 cobs sweet corn
- 2 red peppers
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes halved
- 1 large mild chilli finely diced
- 4 sprigs spring onions finely diced
- 1/4 cup pinenuts
- 1/4 cup parsley finely diced
- 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 Tbsp black truffle oil
- Juice of 2 limes
- grated rind of one lime
- 2 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1/4 tsp salt and pepper
- 4 small heads of garlic
- 1 pack silken tofu
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 2 eggs whisked
- 2 cups panko breadcrumbs
- radish sprouts
- mixed leaf salad
For the Roast Garlic…
- Preheat the oven to 180 degC.
- Cut off the top of the garlic heads, exposing some of each cloves.
- Place each head on a square of aluminium foil large enough to wrap it.
- Drizzle some olive oil on the exposed cloves, plus a pinch of salt.
- Wrap up each garlic head.
- Bake in a 180 degC oven for 1 hour.
For the Corn Salsa…
- Clean and trim the red peppers. Smear with olive oil and roast in a 180 degC oven for 40 minutes.
- Husk the corn, pull off the silky threads, and cut out any blemishes.
- Bring a large pot of water to the boil.
- Add the corn cobs and bring back to the boil. Put the pot lid on, continue boiling for 5 minutes, turn off the heat, and let the corn cook in the hot water for another 5 minutes.
- Remove from the hot water and allow to cool.
- When cool enough, slice the kernels from the cob.
- Chop the cherry tomatoes into quarters.
- Toast the pine nuts until just starting to brown.
- In a shaker, combine the ingredients for the salsa dressing: parsley, olive oil, truffle infused oil, lime juice and zest, mustard, salt and pepper.
- Shake until combined.
- Finely chop the cooled roasted red peppers.
- In a large bowl, gently combine the corn, tomatoes, red peppers, chilli, spring onion, pine nuts, and dressing. Cover and set aside in the refrigerator.
For the Panko Breaded Tofu…
- Slice the tofu into bite sized pieces. It is very delicate, so be gentle.
- Carefully coat each piece in flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs.
- Fry in hot oil until golden brown.
- Drain on paper towels.