Nose-to-Tail Broccoli and Tofu

IMG_6897 (2)The star of my Potter Hill share this week was a beautiful head of broccoli with the stem and leaves attached. This crown jewel is actually three vegetables in one – slightly vegetal leaves, the crunchy stems, and the meaty florets. All three parts get worked into this recipe along with a rich sauce made with just three ingredients – soy sauce, molasses, and black pepper. Frying tofu does take a bit of time, but it makes for a delightfully crispy addition to this dish. I adapted this recipe from one in Dinner by Melissa Clark, which I’ve mentioned before and still turn to regularly for interesting, easy, and vegetable forward dinners.

My full share was a bunch of fresh onions and their greens, Red Russian kale, cabbage, a bag of lettuce, beets, a whole head of broccoli (leaves attached), cucumbers, summer squash, and basil. I used kale and some cabbage to make a caesar salad, and the broccoli and onions went into the tofu dish below. I used the summer squash and basil to riff off this pasta with fried zucchini, replacing the pasta and mozzarella with tortellini, and adding in some arugula. Lettuce, some cabbage, a cucumber, and some pickled turnips from a few weeks ago went into this salad, which was excellent ( I especially loved the preserved lemon). I haven’t gotten to my beets yet, but my favorite way to eat them is shredded and raw like in this salad or this amazing sandwich with sweet potatoes and feta.

Nose-to-Tail Broccoli and Tofu 

Serves 6

Adapted from Dinner: Changing the Game by Melissa Clark

If you don’t have fresh onions with the greens attached, use the same amount of sliced shallots in place of the bulb and scallions in place of the greens. I wrote this recipe to utilize all parts of the broccoli in our CSA share, but you could substitute another hearty green like bok choy, yokatta na, perpetual spinach, collards, or kale for the leaves. If you’re not into tofu, you could sub chicken, pork, or beef cut into 1 inch chunks, but leave out the cornstarch.

  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • 1 package (14 to 16 ounces) firm tofu, drained, patted dry, and cut into 1 inch cubes
  • ¼ cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 small fresh onions and their tops, bulbs halved and thinly sliced (about 1½ cups/5 ounces) and green tops thinly sliced (about 1 packed cup/1½ ounces) (see note)
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons grated ginger
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 small head of broccoli head with stem and leaves still attached (see note)
  • 6 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 4 tablespoons molasses
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ground black pepper
  • Cooked brown rice, for serving (I cook ¼ cup per serving, so a total of 1½ cups)

In a large wok or skillet heat the oil over medium-high. Toss the cubed tofu with the cornstarch until it is well coated, then fry in the hot oil until it is crisp, about 10-15 minutes. Stir every 3-4 minutes so the sides brown evenly. When the tofu is crisp remove it from the pan with a slotted spoon onto a plate lined with a towel to drain.

While the tofu is cooking, prep the broccoli. Separate the leaves from the broccoli head, and then remove the stem from each leaf (these are tough and can be discarded). Thinly slice the leaves and set aside. Cut off the stalk from the broccoli crown (the leafy part of the “tree”), and using a knife or vegetable peeler remove the outer layer. To ensure you’ve removed enough, cut off a slice and try it – it should be crunchy but not tough. Quarter and slice the stalk, and cut the head into 1 inch florets (the 1 inch being the width of the top of the “tree”). 

Pour off the remaining oil from the pan, and return the to pan on medium heat. Melt the butter, then add in the sliced onion bulbs, garlic, and ginger. Cook for 5 minutes, until the onion starts to soften. Add the red pepper flakes, stir, and cook for a minute more.

While the onions are cooking, prep the sauce by whisking together the soy sauce, molasses, and freshly ground pepper in a bowl.

Add the broccoli stem and florets to the pan, stir, and cover. Cook for 5 minutes, then add in the greens, stir, and cover again. Cook for another 5 minutes, or until the greens have fully wilted. Add the sauce and tofu to the pan and toss until the vegetables and tofu are thoroughly. Serve over brown rice with extra chili flakes.

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