Don't get me started on the irony of not eating meat while watching football.
Anyway. I made tofu and made it taste like buffalo. AND THEN I made a sweet and salty relish for topping BECAUSE I get that celery and buffalo flavors just really go well together but also I kind of don't like raw celery? Pickled, though, and I'm in.
This is one of those great easy dishes - the "hard" part is being patient enough for the tofu to get nice and crispy without actually frying it. Mainly, you don't get the pan too hot and give yourself at least 20 minutes for the tofu. I actually start the tofu and THEN make the relish so that I have something to do while the tofu cooks. It takes a bit of time because tofu is wet, and we want to dry it out so the edges get crispy and crunchy. BUT we don't want to burn the tofu, obviously.
Grab your ingredients! You need tofu, tomato sauce, butter, and hot sauce. For the relish, celery, green onion, salt, sugar, and some kind of vinegar. I went apple cider, but you can use anything you like!
Firm tofu is KEY for recipes like this. Soft or silken tofu has its purposes, but I think for anything that is traditionally meat you really need to go extra firm or firm to get some good texture happening. Meat is rarely the texture of gelatin, unless you're in Europe, which is an entirely different story. Cut the tofu into pretty cubes.
Then, put half the butter and all the tofu in a large skillet over medium heat. No need to preheat the skillet; allowing the butter and tofu to warm together helps with the drying out we were talking about.
Now, let the tofu do it's thing. I really like a nonstick skillet for this, so use one if you have it. Every 5 minutes or so, flip the tofu. This is the first flip.
Then, shake in a ton of hot sauce! I know tomato sauce isn't traditional in buffalo sauce, but I do it to increase the tang without having too much hot sauce AND to reduce the need for a crap ton of butter. Try it!
Of course, you could use the relish and sauce recipe with some grilled sliced chicken, but as far as tofu appetizers go this is kind of a great one. Try it soon!
Buffalo Tofu + Celery Relish
- FOR THE TOFU
- 1 brick extra firm tofu drained and cut into cubes
- ½ stick butter
- ½ cup tomato sauce plus more if needed
- ¼ cup hot sauce such as Texas Pete plus more if needed
- FOR THE RELISH
- 1 rib celery finely chopped
- 2 scallions thinly sliced
- ⅓ cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- For the tofu, add half the butter to a large nonstick skillet with the tofu. Let cook at medium to medium-low heat for 20-30 minutes, stirring every few minutes, until the tofu is browned on all sides and crispy. If the tofu seems to be browning very quickly, turn down the heat.
- When the tofu is crispy, remove it from the skillet. Add the rest of the butter, the tomato sauce, and hot sauce. Stir to combine, and taste: add more tomato sauce if it's too spicy, more hot sauce if you'd like. Return the tofu to the skillet and stir the sauce with the tofu. Serve with blue cheese crumbles or relish.
- For the relish, add the salt, sugar, vinegar, and celery to a small pot. Turn the heat to high, and bring the vinegar to a boil. When the vinegar boils, turn the heat OFF and add the scallion. Let sit for 10 minutes, then drain and serve.