These tofu escalopes are breaded in a crispy, cheesy coating, and can be served in so many different ways. Perfect grown up vegetarian chicken nuggets!
If you like cooking meals where there's a real 'focal point', to serve alongside whatever side dishes you fancy, these crispy tofu escalopes are a must try! They're breaded in a crispy coating, and are super versatile - read on for heaps of ways to serve them!
What is an escalope?
Okay, first things first: what exactly is a tofu escalope?
An escalope is a thin slice of meat that is coated, fried, and served in a sauce. Obviously this version uses tofu instead of meat, but the idea is the same - it's a thin slice of tofu, coated in a cheesy breading, and pan-fried until it's beautifully golden brown and crispy.
This time, I served my tofu escalopes in a buttery caper sauce (which I would 100% highly recommend), but if you're not a caper fan, there are any number of other ways to use these little beauties.
How to cook tofu
To make your tofu escalopes, you'll need to start by giving a bit of love to your tofu.
Tofu is one of my favourite ingredients to cook with, as it's just so versatile. Tofu stir fry, tofu curry, tofu meatballs, tofu steaks, even tofu sandwiches... and that's just the beginning!
This plain looking lump of slightly bland white stuff can be transformed into a spectacular feature of any international cuisine.
But, this magic doesn't happen on its own - tofu does need a bit of love, otherwise it can taste a bit underwhelming. If you're a tofu newbie, check out my post all about how to cook tofu, and you'll learn everything you need to know.
In this case, pressing the tofu for just 5-10 minutes really gives your tofu escalopes a satisfying, chewy texture.
How to make tofu escalopes
For these tofu escalopes, you'll need to coat your pressed tofu slices in a simple breading.
As with most breaded items, the breading has three main components:
I added a good dollop of basil pesto to my beaten eggs, which gave a lovely flavour to my tofu escalopes. Feel free to add any other 'wet' flavourings you fancy, depending on how you're serving your tofu escalopes - curry paste, harissa, tomato puree, etc.
I also added some grated parmesan-style cheese to my breadcrumbs, as I'm super predictable and can't seem to make anything without cheese in it. But aside from being delicious, the cheese mixed into the breadcrumbs in this recipe also helps these tofu escalopes to become extra super duper crispy when they're fried off.
Get dipping, and soon you'll have thin slices of tofu that are all expertly coated in the three layers:
Fry your tofu escalopes
By this point, all the hard work is done (and you've only been at work for maybe 15 minutes).
Now it's just a case of popping your breaded tofu in a pan, and letting it get beautifully crispy all over.
It's like super classy, grown up chicken nuggets.
How to serve tofu escalopes
As I said, there are so many different ways to serve these crispy, cheesy tofu escalopes. I made a super simple buttery caper sauce (literally just capers fried off in butter - believe me you've never experienced heaven until you've drizzled melted butter over a cheesy escalope). But if you'd prefer to skip the sauce, here are some more ideas:
- serve them with pasta and tomato sauce as a kind of vegetarian chicken parmesan
- stick them in a sandwich
- serve with veggies and gravy (like a roast dinner!)
- cut them into strips and serve over a big salad
- dip them into tomato soup
- serve with potato waffles and baked beans, like grown up chicken nuggets
- use them to top a Buddha bowl, with whatever combination of grains and vegetables you fancy
However you serve them, I guarantee you'll enjoy these crispy tofu escalopes - they're a revelation.
Crispy tofu escalopes with buttery caper sauce
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- 400 g (~ 14 oz) extra firm tofu
- 2 tablespoon plain flour
- 2 eggs
- 1 tablespoon basil pesto
- 75 g (~ ½ cup) fine breadcrumbs
- 30 g vegetarian parmesan-style cheese, finely grated (~ ⅓ cup when grated)
- Black pepper
- 2 tablespoon oil
- 4 tablespoon butter (optional)
- 3 tablespoon capers (optional)
- Cut the tofu into 1cm slices (I got 9 slices from my block). Lay the tofu slices in a single layer on a clean tea towel (use a few layers of towel if it’s a thin one), and place another clean towel on top. Lay a baking tray over the top, and add something very heavy (e.g. a stack of cookbooks or a large pan full of water). Leave it for at least 10 minutes - this will press any excess liquid out of the tofu. Alternatively, you can use a tofu press if you have one.
- Meanwhile, add the flour to a small plate. Beat the eggs in a second dish, and mix in the pesto. Add the breadcrumbs and parmesan to a third dish, and season with plenty of black pepper.
- When the tofu is ready, take one slice and coat it lightly in the flour, tapping off any excess. Dip it thoroughly in the egg and pesto mixture, ensuring all the flour is covered, and allow any excess egg to drip off. Then coat the tofu in the cheesy breadcrumbs, and place it on a plate. Repeat with the remaining slices of tofu.
- Heat a couple of tablespoons of oil in a frying pan over a medium heat, and add a few of the slices of tofu. You don't want to overcrowd the pan, so you may need to cook in batches - I cooked 4 slices of tofu to begin with, then the remaining 5. Cook the tofu for a few minutes each side, until golden brown and crispy. You may need to add additional oil to the pan between batches.
- If making the buttery caper sauce, simply melt the butter in a frying pan, and add the capers. Cook for a few minutes, then drizzle over the crispy tofu escalopes.
Nutritional information is approximate, and will depend on your exact ingredients. Please calculate your own nutritional values if you require accuracy for health reasons.
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