You could probably cook a doorknob in this extremely rich sauce and it would burst with flavor in your mouth. I don’t much cook middle-eastern food and I don’t much cook tofu. That said, this Lebanese cooking method is usually used on white-fleshed fish. Here, it makes tofu shine in a very unique way. While the fat in the sauce brings the tahini and garlic and lemon into the tofu itself and radically transforms the texture, the taste of the tofu melds into the sauce, helping to marry all the strong flavors in this dish. Recipes that call for cod or other meaty white fish are often the easiest to veganize using good-quality firm tofu. The cracked wheat adds a good chew to this dish as well as some bright vegetable-ness. Any more “mushroom-ey” mushroom will work from creminis to oyster, blue foots or honey caps but avoid any porcinis or black trumpets or anything like that; they may overpower the rest. The tofu recipe is almost straight out of Daniel Boulud’s Braise.
1 block firm tofu, cut in half height-wise and lengthwise to form rectangles
2/3 cups tahini
2 cloves garlic
The zest and juice of 2 lemons
3 tablespoons olive oil
8 black olives, pitted
2 teaspoons ground coriander
Salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 275.
In a blender, combine the tahini, garlic, lemon zest and juice, olive oil, and 1 cup water. Puree until smooth. Pour half the sauce into a dutch oven or high-sided skillet. Season the tofu on all sides with salt, pepper, and ground coriander. Place the tofu in a single layer in the pan and pour the rest of the sauce over. Braise for approximately 40 minutes to an hour, making sure that the tahini never comes to a boil and gets greasy. This is best served family style in the container it was cooked in, so make the pilaf while the tofu is cooking. When ready, sprinkle the olives around the tofu and serve.
6 true baby carrots, scrubbed
1 cup blue foot mushrooms, sliced
3 whole cloves garlic
1 golden beet, sliced into battonettes
1 cup cracked wheat
Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil.
Blanch your carrots by dropping them into the pot, cooking until they’re half-tender (about a minute), then removing with a slotted spoon.
Then cook your cracked wheat by dropping it in, letting it cook for about 15-20 minutes until it’s cooked but still has some chew and draining it into a colander. Run cold water over it to stop the cooking.
Mix together the carrots, mushrooms, garlic, and beets.
Heat ¼ cup of olive oil in a large sautee pan and put in a single layer of the vegetable mix, and season with salt. Cook for 5 minutes or so, only stirring as the bottoms get seared. When well-caramelized, set aside and repeat until all your vegetable mixture is cooked. Mix the vegetable mixture into the cracked wheat along with ¼ cup olive oil and the juice of 1 lemon. Season to taste with salt and pepper.