Bacon and tofu, as it turns out, can be friends.
There's a lot going on in this sandwich, which comes from a Sunset magazine feature, Tofu for Meat Lovers. The ciabatta bread is toasty and crisp. Thick slabs of tofu are charred and flavorful from a long bath in soy sauce, and a few sesame seeds stay on. The great thing about tofu is that it will absorb the flavors of whatever you add to it, which makes it incredibly versatile.
The bacon is surprisingly perfect against the tofu. That's why the avocado and fresh cilantro are a good idea, keeping the combination of salty tofu and bacon in check. The flavor of grilled zucchini isn't prominent but it plays its part. Some bacon grease on the rolls amps up the sandwich.
This intensely good but balanced sandwich makes a great weekend lunch. Around here, we don't believe that Jan. 1 calls for an immediate switch to ascetic dinners. I regret nothing from December. Not the cookies, not any extra glass of wine, and certainly not the second serving of rich tres leches.
This recipe is a reminder that warm winter days deserve meals from your grill as much as any July afternoon. Fire it up.
The list of ingredients isn't exactly short, but there's nothing difficult here. It's worth it. Have you ever had bacon and tofu together? If you've resolved to try new things this year, this contradictory sandwich is a good way to ease you in. It is crazy good. Fickle vegetarians and everyone else, enjoy.
Ileana Morales is a writer who cooks in a small apartment kitchen in Tampa with boyfriend, Danny Valentine, an education reporter for the Tampa Bay Times. For more of their kitchen adventures, visit Ileana's blog, alittlesaffron.com. She can be contacted at [email protected]