Smoky tofu club sandwich
For the aubergine
- 1 aubergine, sliced into 1cm rounds
- 75g plain flour
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 100g panko breadcrumbs or matzo meal
- vegetable oil, for frying
- salt and black pepper, for sprinkling and seasoning
For the tofu
- 300g extra firm tofu, sliced into 8 pieces
- 2 tablespoons black garlic ketchup
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Leaves from 2 sprigs rosemary, chopped
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon smoked water
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon sweet white miso
For the mayonnaise
- 8 tablespoons good mayonnaise
- ½ teaspoon smoked water
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
To construct the clubs
- 8 thick slices of bread
- 2 tomatoes, sliced into rounds
- A handful of lettuce leaves
Salting aubergines may feel like an extra, unnecessary step, but in this instance, the breaded slices cook quickly so it’s important that they’re tender before they come into contact with the heat. The magic of salt achieves this by drawing out excess liquid from the flesh, turning them creamy and succulent as they cook.
Our smoked water is in both the marinade for the tofu, as well as the mayonnaise in this club, and it’s all the better for it – we promise you that you’ll crave the smoky mayonnaise with everything once you’ve tasted it.
RECIPE: Anna Shepherd
Lay the aubergine slices on a large baking sheet or tray that will fit in the fridge. Sprinkle with salt and cover with kitchen towel or a clean dish cloth and place in the fridge for one hour while you prepare the rest of the club.
Arrange the tofu pieces in one layer in large Tupperware or container. Mix the remaining tofu ingredients together to make a marinade, then pour over the tofu and leave to marinade for at least an hour or up to 3 days – tofu is like a sponge for other flavours, so the longer you leave it, the more complex it will taste.
Mix the mayonnaise with the smoked water and garlic and set aside.
Get three plates out on your work surface. Place the flour on one, the egg on the second and breadcrumbs on the third. Season the flour generously with salt and pepper (smoked salt is particularly good here). Place a rack lined with kitchen paper nearby, ready to drain the cooked aubergine. Wipe any moisture away from the aubergine slices, then dredge them first through the flour, followed by the egg, then finally the breadcrumbs.
Heat a large (28cm) frying pan over a medium – high heat and pour in a generous glug of oil to cover the base of the pan. Fry the aubergine in batches, making sure there’s no overlap of the slices and there’s ample space for flipping for 3-4 minutes each side, until they’re crisp and golden all over. Remove the aubergine with a slotted spatula to the kitchen paper to drain. Season immediately with flaky salt.
Wipe the pan clean with kitchen towel – there’s no need to wash it up. Add another couple of tablespoons of oil to the pan and warm over a medium heat. Fry the marinated tofu for 3-4 minutes each side until crisp, then remove to a plate lined with kitchen paper to drain. Any leftover tofu marinade can be drizzled over the cooked tofu, or re-used to marinade root vegetables for roasting.
To construct the sandwiches, spread mayonnaise over two slices, then layer lettuce, tomato, crispy aubergine and tofu slices. Sandwich the other slice of bread over the top and cut in half.