BLACKENED TOFU
Yields 4 to 6 servings

The melted butter is essential in this for the right flavor as are the powdered garlic and onions. Because of the extreme heat and volatility of the spices, it’s best to cook blackened anything out-of-doors or under a good fan.

2 1-pound blocks Chinese-style firm tofu Salt
1 Tbsp. sweet paprika
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
½ to 1 tsp. cayenne to taste
¾ tsp. ground white pepper
¾ tsp. black pepper
½ tsp. dried thyme
½ tsp. dried oregano
6-8 Tbsp. butter, melted (preferably clarified)

Cut the tofu into slabs about ½ inch thick and set them on paper towels to drain for at least 30 minutes, preferably with a weight on top. They need to be very dry. Mix 2½ tsp. salt and the spices and herbs in a bowl. Brush each piece of tofu with melted butter, then dredge with the spice mixture, patting it firmly into the tofu. This can be done ahead of time.

Preheat the over to 250° and have a platter and spatula at hand. Heat a cast-iron skillet on the stove or covered gas grill until it’s white-hot, about 15 minutes. Pour a teaspoon of melted butter onto each piece of tofu, then place it, butter side down, into the hot skillet and step back. Wait 2 minutes, then turn it over and repeat on the second side. Remove to a platter and keep in the oven until all are cooked.

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