This is a jerk you want to invite over for dinner! “Jerk” technically refers to a way that a meat or vegetable or fruit is seasoned and cooked – slow and over a fire. It’s a deeply rooted spicy Caribbean seasoning that originated in Jamaica. Jerk departs a lively, aromatic and uniquely Caribbean flavor to meats, vegetables and even tofu.
Traditional jerk mixes uses the squat “scotch bonnet” pepper, native to Jamaica (as opposed to a Mexican habanero which many Americans are familiar with) as well as allspice and cinnamon, creating a warmth to the heat.
Here a habanero sauce stands in for that fiery element and pairs well with fruits like pineapple, especially when the fruit is slightly caramelized on the grill.
Tofu drinks up full flavored jerk sauce and pairs wonderfully with the sweetness of baked pineapple.
• 1 lb extra firm tofu, pressed to remove water and cut into 1- to 2-inch cubes
• 1 lb fresh pineapple, cut into 1- to 2-inch cubes
• 1 red pepper, cut into 1- to 2-inch cubes
• 6 metal or bamboo skewers (soak bamboo skewers in water before using)
• 1/4 c fresh lime juice
• 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
• 2 Tbsp tamari soy sauce
• 1 Tbsp brown sugar
• 1 Tbsp hot sauce or habañero sauce
• 2 Tbsp fresh chives, minced (reserve 1 tablespoon for garnish)
• 1 Tbsp dried thyme
• 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
• 1 tsp ground allspice
• Pinch of salt and pepper To press tofu: wrap it in a clean, lint-free towel or place it between two plates, then add a 2 to 3 pound weight on top (a cookbook works well) and let it sit for 15 minutes or more to remove excess water.
In medium-sized mixing bowl, combine the jerk sauce ingredients. Reserve 4 tablespoons of the sauce for dressing the tofu when cooked. Marinate the pressed, cubed tofu in the jerk sauce for 30-60 minutes or overnight.
Prepare and preheat the grill.
Thread the fruit, peppers and tofu onto skewers and place them on a rimmed sheet pan. Brush the fruit and peppers with some of the marinade.
When the grill is hot, put the skewers on and grill on each side for 3-4 minutes, glazing the fruit with more marinade every couple of minutes.
Remove from skewers and toss the pineapple and tofu together. Drizzle with the remaining 4 tablespoons of jerk sauce and garnish with chives and diced red pepper. Serve over a bed of greens or crisp lettuce and along a pot of rice.
• Use leftovers in a wrap with shredded cabbage and carrots.
• Save extra marinade (since it didn’t marinate meat it’s ok to reuse it) and drizzle over an omelet or steamed veggies.
• Substitute chicken for the tofu.
Nutritional Information Calories: 149, Fat: 4 g, Cholesterol: 0 mg, Sodium: 362 mg, Carbohydrate: 23 g, Dietary Fiber: 3 g, Protein: 10 g
Recipe developed by National Co+op Grocers, Stronger Together, a business services cooperative for natural food co-ops and provided by Wheatsfield Co-op, your community-owned full service natural foods grocery store. For information about classes at the co-op, check out the schedule at Wheatsfield Cooperative’s Facebook page. Everyone can shop. 413 Northwestern (just off Main St), Open daily 7am-9pm.