A simple paste made with oil and spices can be rubbed on tofu two days in advance. The paste’s robust spices are especially good on tofu, but they’re equally delicious with pork tenderloin or chicken.
2 tablespoons coriander seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons fennel seeds
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 dried bay leaf, crumbled
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for the grill
4 large garlic cloves, minced and mashed to a paste with a pinch of salt
Two 14-ounce blocks firm tofu—drained, each one cut crosswise into 4 slabs
8 brioche buns, split
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup barbecue sauce
Lettuce, for serving
Sliced pickles, for serving
Red onion, for serving
Tomatoes, for serving
How to Make It
In a skillet, combine the coriander and fennel seeds, peppercorns, crushed red pepper and bay leaf and cook over moderate heat, shaking the pan, until fragrant, 1 minute. Transfer the spices to a grinder and let cool. Add the paprika and finely grind the spices, then transfer them to a bowl and stir in the 1/2 cup of olive oil. Stir in the garlic paste.
Arrange the tofu in a baking dish. Spread all but 1 tablespoon of the spice paste over the tofu. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to 48 hours.
Light a grill and oil the grates. Season the tofu with salt and grill over moderate heat, turning, until just heated through, 10 minutes.
Grill the buns until toasted. In a bowl, mix the mayonnaise and barbecue sauce with the remaining 1 tablespoon of spice paste. Spread the mayonnaise sauce on the buns and top with the tofu, lettuce, pickles, red onion and tomatoes. Close the sandwiches and serve.
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