Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Vegan Mofo #23 - Mark’s Tofu Scallops with Saffron Herb Butter...

Vegan Mofo #23 - Mark’s Tofu Scallops with Saffron Herb Butter

The Region - France
The Book - The 30 Minute Vegan’s Taste of Europe
The Author - Mark Reinfeld
The Recipe -Tofu Scallops with Saffron Herb Butter
Page # 82
Difficulty - Easy
Duration - About 30 minutes

Can I make a confession? Never in my life has there ever been a day where I thought to myself “You know what would be good right now? Scallops.” Ew, yuck, ick! Even when I ate animals and fish scallops were never on the menu. I hated them, absolutely, positively despised them. I thought they were one of the most disgusting things you could put into your mouth - right up there on my gross radar with oysters and veal. - I know people go gaga for these little sea creatures but I never understood the appeal. To me they had the texture of rubber, the flavor of the sea, and a mildly sweet aroma that I found somewhat off-putting. I think I only ever ate scallops twice in my life.

Strange then how veganism changes a person, and opens whole new worlds of possibility. I don’t mean to say that now that I don’t eat animals anymore I crave to try scallops again quite the contrary. It seems that it’s precisely because of the fact that I’m vegan that I want to eat a scallop, not because I miss scallops but because vegan scallops aren’t scallops at all, you dig? In his recipe Reinfeld uses tofu in place of the scallops, and I love tofu you see, so cooking it using the method usually reserved for scallops, and slathering it in a ‘buttery’ herb sauce that is common when serving scallops appeals to me.  As is often the case most people are more interested in the things they put on their food then the actual food itself - Omnivores are particularly guilty of this - and so I was particularly intrigued to try Reinfeld’s saffron herb butter sauce. As for what Scallops have to do with France I’m not entirely sure, and Reinfeld doesn’t say. Although seafood is popular in France and the French are particularly well known for their culinary ingenuity when it comes to sauces and particularly ones based on butter so perhaps this is enough to warrant the inclusion of this recipe in the French chapter. Who knows, but either way it was a delicious meal.

Now, I didn’t go through the trouble of cutting the tofu into little scallop rounds. I figured what was the point? Besides I don’t own any cookie cutters - small or otherwise - anyway. Instead I cut my tofu into squares and then marinated them in the olive oil, cayenne, and lemon juice mixture, before baking them until golden. As the tofu bakes you make your butter sauce which is a mixture of vegan butter, saffron, garlic, white wine, lemon juice, marjoram, and thyme. Once the two are complete you plate your tofu scallops, drizzle some sauce over them and garnish with fresh minces parsley and voila! You have a lovely plate of Hors d'oeuvre! Bon appetite!

So now you’re wondering how they taste. Well, I can’t tell you that they taste like scallops because they don’t. Scallops are disgusting and fishy and these delicate little roasted tofu bites are neither of those things. I think the tofu, and the roasting of it mimic’s the texture of a scallop pretty well, and I love the tart, tangy lemon flavor from the marinade they go into but if you’re looking for a dead-accurate vegan scallop you’ll be disappointed. However adding a bit of kelp powder or nori into the marinade might help on that count. As for the herb butter it is simply magnificent, and it tastes absolutely divine when poured over the lemony tofu cubes. Simply a perfect combination.

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