Fear of Frying

A Southern classic turns vegetarian

There is no chicken–or meat of any kind–in Lee Gregory's chicken-fried tofu.

The chef of The Roosevelt in Richmond, Virginia, plays liberally with traditional country cooking. In one of his modern moves, he also ensures that The Roosevelt's health-conscious vegetarians have plenty of dining choices.

Gregory applies a classic Southern frying technique to organic firm tofu sourced from nearby Twin Oaks Farm in Charlottesville. He marinates the tofu in buttermilk and hot sauce to impart sourness and heat, then dredges it in flour. After a dip in peanut oil, the fried tofu is served on sandwich rolls, dressed with honey mustard blended with a dash more hot sauce.

With Gregory's sandwiches as inspiration, we lightened the recipe by quickly pan-frying the tofu, eliminating the buns, and serving the honey mustard as a tangy dipping sauce (see the recipe). Encase the tofu in bread if you like, or assemble an easy appetizer by cutting the strips into smaller pieces and serving on skewers.

And that's what we call learning to fry.