The crunchy-crisp tofu and our spicy-sweet salsa are inspired by that restaurant-chain classic, deep-fried coconut shrimp. Make it a meal: Stir fresh cilantro into basmati rice and serve alongside. Try sliced bananas drizzled with “lite” coconut milk for dessert.
3 medium peaches, peeled, pitted and diced
1-2 jalapenos, preferably red, seeded and minced
1 2-inch piece fresh lemongrass, minced, or 1 teaspoon dried (see Note)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon rice-wine vinegar
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1/3 cup unsweetened flaked coconut
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 14-ounce package extra-firm water-packed tofu, drained
2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Set a wire rack on a large baking sheet.
2. Combine peaches, jalapenos, lemongrass, basil, brown sugar, vinegar and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl; toss to combine.
3. Mix coconut, flour and cornstarch in a shallow dish. Cut the block of tofu lengthwise into 8 thin steaks. Pat the tofu slices dry with a paper towel, sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, then press both sides of each tofu steak into the coconut mixture.
4. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 4 tofu steaks and cook until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side, adjusting heat as necessary to prevent scorching. Transfer the tofu steaks to the rack-lined baking sheet and place in the oven to keep warm. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in the skillet over medium-high heat; cook the remaining tofu steaks until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Serve the tofu with the peach salsa.
Lemongrass, essential to Thai and Vietnamese cooking, is an edible grass with bright lemon fragrance and taste. Find it fresh in the produce section of large supermarkets, at Asian food stores and chopped and dried in specialty spice sections.