When researching tofu history in America for the book, I came across this factoid: In 1986, USA Today reported that tofu was America’s most hated food. Poor little bean curd, maligned and loathed during the year of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Falco, and Huaraches sandals. I had just graduated from high school and had no idea of tofu’s plight in mainstream America.
After 26 years, 1980s music and Huaraches are making a strong comeback. John Hughes's movie airs on cable for wistful gen Xers like me. (I still get a kick from Matthew Broderick's hilariously subversive Ferris Bueller.)
Tofu has luckily moved on to better places too. In fact, many chefs have hopped on the tofu train. For the March issue of Sunset magazine, I developed a recipe for tofu with a miso and mustard glaze. It was based on the vegetarian tasting menu dish at 2-star Cyrus restaurant in Healdsburg. Douglas Keane shared his unusual and tasty technique with me for the story.
On Saturday, food journalist Charlotte Druckman wrote a Wall Street Journal story about tofu skin (often times referred to as yuba, its Japanese name). A seasoned traveler, eater and cook, she fell for tofu skin long ago. Charlotte wasn’t off base. She was actually ahead of her time.
In the article, she discussed modern tofu skin preparations at high-end restaurants, such as Coi (Daniel Patterson), Attelier Crenn (Dominique Crenn), and Alinea (Grant Achatz). These are among the most celebrated restaurants in the United States these days, and tofu is part of their repertoire.
To showcase tofu skin’s deliciousness, Charlotte prepared a riff on the spicy yuba ribbons recipe in Asian Tofu. She added vegetables to the dish for color and crunch.