Thursday, June 23, 2016

Tofu in a Lemon, Butter, Capers Sauce. Not Your Typical Scampi

When I was younger my family would bounce back-and-forth between the beach and our home up north. It's one of the perks to growing up in New Jersey—the mountains, the farms, the beach, the ski slopes, and NYC are no more than a short drive or train ride away, creating unlimited day trips and culinary experiences.

Before I write the next part, I want to say that raising a vegetarian son is easy. At three-and-a-half he understands why he doesn't eat animals and, to be honest, he wouldn't have it any other way. But there are moments (some very strong moments) usually triggered by a whiff of a classic, beach-related flavor combination that I get the urge to give him a cherrystone clam drenched in butter, garlic, and parsley or a perfectly steamed oyster with just a little vinegar and horseradish or a delicately fried jumbo shrimp tossed in butter and Old Bay, all sensory reminders of good times spent down the shore. And, whether it be my parent's cozy little bungalow with all the windows open and the grill roaring; the Crab's Claw, situated right between the Atlantic Ocean and the Barnegat Bay (a wonderful smelling, salty crosswind included at no charge); or sitting with my grandmother at the "old person's bar" on Seaside Heights Boardwalk eating fried clams and cocktail sauce; the smell of beer + saltwater + seafood will be forever embedded into my innermost psyche, triggering memories of a youth well-spent surfing, fishing, crabbing, and cooking.

I saw an image of a shrimp scampi dish in a friend's FB feed so I decided to try to recreate it substituting lightly roasted tofu for shrimp. I drenched it in butter, olive oil, onions, capers, lemon, garlic, and a little white wine. I served it with a nice loaf of crusty bread and well seasoned blanched asparagus covered in micro-planed Parmesan cheese. We ate this outside and drank a slightly chilled rosé (not my son)—the perfect combination for the saltiness of this caper-heavy dish. 

I'm happy to say that it took care of the craving, the boy (and the girl) loved it, and the best part (as far they're both concerned) nothing had to perish in the process. Feel free to email me for the recipe. Till next time…

Tofu Scampi, capers, lemon, butter, white wine
 blanched asparagus with parmesan cheese