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Meatless Monday recipe of the week: Pan-Fried Tofu with Spinach, Pear and Star Anise

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I'm feeling in the mood for an Asian-inspired Meatless Monday. I mean, why not? Yes, it's hot out, but this tofu and spinach combo can be enjoyed both on the deck and in the comfort of your air-conditioned home. Win-win. Plus it's a nice, break from salads while still managing to use local ingredients (spinach and Central Soy tofu).

So, enjoy this special dish with some steamed veggies and some rice and call it dinner. Bonus: Your house will smell amazing!

Pan-Fried Tofu with Spinach, Pear and Star Anise

1 package tofu (use extra firm tofu) halved horizontally

2 tablespoons peanut oil

1 tablespoon sesame oil

1 1/2 teaspoon ginger root minced

1 clove garlic minced

1 red chile cut in paper thin circles

3 whole star anise

1/3 cup roasted peanuts

2 tablespoons hoisin sauce

1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce

1/2 limes juice freshly squeezed

2 pounds baby spinach

1 pear or Asian pear, sliced into thin wedges

Lay several layers of paper towels on a cutting board, then place the tofu squares on top, side by side. Cover the tofu with more paper towels and place a plate on top. Add a can or two to press down and drain out some of the water in the curd. This makes the tofu denser and meatier.

In a large skillet, heat the peanut and sesame oils just to the smoking point. Fry the tofu on both sides, flipping occasionally with a spatula, until golden, about 8 minutes total. Remove the tofu from the pan and drain it on a plate lined with paper towels.

Using the same pan, sauté the ginger, garlic, chile, star anise, and peanuts. In a small bowl, mix the hoisin sauce, soy sauce, and lime juice together. Briefly toss the spinach in the pan, stirring just to wilt, no more than 30 seconds. Remove the spinach to a bowl, scraping the peanut mixture in there also. Put the pan back on the heat and heat the hoisin mixture. Combine the sauce with the spinach and divide between two bowls. Lay the pear slices and tofu on top, and enjoy.

— Recipe from www.melissas.com.

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