For the tofu:
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon coriander powder
1/8 teaspoon cayenne (optional, if you want it spicy)
1 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed with your fingers
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, quartered and sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 block (12 to 14 oz) extra firm tofu
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
Fresh black pepper
1/2 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, sliced in half
Scallions for garnish
For the grits:
1 cup polenta corn grits
4 cups vegetable broth
1/4 teaspoon salt (to taste, depending how salty your broth is)
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
To make the tofu:
1. Combine the spice blend in a small cup or bowl. Preheat a large, heavy bottomed pan over medium high heat. Saute the onion in olive oil for about a 5 minutes, then add the garlic and stir for 30 seconds.
2. Break the tofu apart into bite sized pieces and saute for about 10 minutes, using a spatula to stir often. Get under the tofu when you are stirring, scrape the bottom and don’t let it stick to the pan, that is where the good, crispy stuff is. Use a thin metal spatula to get the job done, a wooden or plastic one won’t really cut it. The tofu should get browned on at least one side, but you don’t need to be too precise about it. The water should cook out of it and not collect too much at the bottom of the pan. If that is happening, turn the heat up and let the water evaporate.
3. Add the lemon juice, salt and pepper and saute a minute more.
4. Add the spice blend and mix to incorporate.
5. Add the tomatoes and cook until they are warmed through and slightly broken down, about 5 minutes. Taste for salt and seasoning and keep warm until ready to serve.
To make the polenta:
1. Bring vegetable broth and salt to a boil in a 2 quart pot. Lower heat to simmer.
2. Add the polenta in a slow steady stream, stirring constantly with a whisk. Whisk for about 5 minutes, until polenta is thickened. Keeping heat low, cover and let cook for 20 more minutes or so, stirring occasionally.
3. When polenta is almost done, preheat a small pan over medium-low heat. Saute the garlic in oil just until it begins to sizzle, being careful not to burn. Stir for 30 seconds, then transfer to the cooked polenta and mix well.
To serve: Spoon some polenta onto a plate and scoop on some tofu, overlapping a bit. Complete the plate with greens, then garnish with scallion.