In Archie McPhee's Mr. Bacon vs. Monsieur Tofu set, the two foodstuffs are seemingly at odds with each other. Understandably so, since one's the poster enfant of vegetarianism, and the other is the undisputed king of all meats. However, meat and tofu don't necessarily have to fight against each other. During a challenge on Top Chef's Season 4, molecular gastronomist Richard Blais and Chicago's very own Dale Talde got rave reviews for a dish that marinated tofu in beef fat (you can get the recipe here--it's mouthwatering). We at BDJ Labs wanted to see if the bean-curd cubes could get together in harmony, too. For ease of wrapping, we used the super-extra-firm kind with the skin on it (Tran's Tofu out of Chicago's our favorite).
Yummers--tofu has a tendency to really adopt the flavor of whatever you put next to it; bacon-baking proved to be no exception. The tofu retained a bit of its tanginess, but the savory bacon flavor permeated the bean curd and elevated the tastiness considerably (to be honest, plain tofu ain't all that great). If we were to serve this at a bacongasm party, we might add a little something--a fresh basil leave, perhaps, maybe a slice of shiitake or porcini mushroom--but not a lot. Put this one firmly in the "success" column.
The conclusion: Bacon + tofu = reddish meat and ivory, live together in perfect harmony *
Next up: Bacon and Chinese broccoli
* Note to 20something and younger BDJ readers: That line's a hilarious allusion to a duet between Stevie Wonder and Paul McCartney. Please laugh at it and make us elderly people feel better.