This recipe began as most of mine do, inspired by a need to use and/or “enhance” an ingredient. In this case, Kate was jonesing for tofu and we had a couple tomatoes that were pretty mediocre but had tempted me (foolish!) on one of my rare visits to the supermarket’s produce aisle. I’ll skip to the happy ending – tas-tee! It was a focal point and primary protein source of this meal but I think it’d work well as a “finger food” if entertaining (it wouldn’t have been much harder to double the recipe). They’re stuffed-“ish” because really they’re actually topped and not stuffed, but if people can pile stuff on a portabella mushroom and call it “stuffed” then I can use the term here. Total cooking time was about an hour from beginning to end, with the last 25 minutes just waiting around (or, in my case, preparing muffin batter for snacks for the week).

And presumably if you have GOOD tomatoes it’ll come out even better. There are many ways in which I could have altered the ingredients, so the improvisational-minded are encouraged to experiment and substitute. As it is, it’s vegan and rather flavorful; the inside is soft (one might say “custardy”) and the outside is extremely crispy, such that it’s better eaten by hand than attempting to cut with a fork.

– Oil for coating baking pan

– a one-pound block of firm tofu

– 8 tomato slices (about 2 medium-large tomatoes with some “spare parts” you can snack on)

– 1 Tbsp miso (I used a dark barley miso)

– 1-2 tsp lemon juice

– ½ tsp sugar (could substitute honey or agave nectar)

– about 2 Tbsp chopped chives (1 scallion would work too)

– 1 small clove garlic, chopped finely or crushed

– 2 Tbsp almonds, chopped finely (I toasted ‘em first, but that’s also optional).

1) Turn the oven on to 350. While you wait, coat a baking sheet with oil (not much needed if you have a non-stick sheet – we don’t, so I used about a Tbsp of light olive oil and spread it around with a paper towel).

2) Dry off the tofu with a paper towel (you don’t have to be super-anal about it in this case) and slice into 8 rectangles. Arrange on baking sheet and put in oven for 30 minutes.

3) While you wait, slice the tomatoes. Eyeball the size based on the size/shape of your tofu pieces. Having smaller tomato chunks and putting 2 on a piece of tofu is a perfectly acceptable solution.

4) Mix the remaining ingredients up in a smallish bowl. It’ll wind up being a thick paste.

5) Spread some of the paste evenly onto each tomato slice.

6)  Once the initial 30 minutes of baking is up, flip each tofu piece. The side on the bottom (which is now on the top) will probably be crispier from its contact with the oil, which you can blot off with a paper towel if you wish (I did). Arrange a tomato slice (or the equivalent number of small slice-lets, as the case may be) on top of each piece of tofu.

7) Return to oven and bake for another 25 minutes. Serve hot.

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