Listen to the More Recipes About Music & Food Spotify Playlist
I am a Cure fan one with one reservation: not the poppy Cure. I am firmly Team Moody Angst Goth Cure meaning the last studio album I liked was The Top and that really was not a strong album. I don’t deny there are plenty of great Cure songs after ’84, it’s just I prefer the darker side of Robert Smith. I won’t skip any Cure song that comes up on a playlist, but if I’m picking out an album to play, it’s going to be Three Imaginary Boys or Pornography (which I consider to be their best). Of the Pop Era Cure, I have a soft spot for “In Between Days”, “Pictures of You”, and the song that inspired the name for this dish.
I can’t take credit for this music food pun. When I started the Music & Food project, a friend in Portland, OR sent me a link to a kindred spirit food cart & restaurant – Fried Egg I’m In Love. Not only do their sandwiches sound amazing, but the music puns they are using make me furious for not thinking of them before seeing their menu. Luckily, they did not have an actual “Fried Egg I’m In Love” sandwich and so this dish uses that name in tribute.
Like my previous breakfast sandwich, this is a riff on a traditional NY style BEC (bacon, egg, and cheese). As I never have bacon in the house (too expensive, too messy, too much smell), I am always looking for something to sub in for the protein. Usually, it’s chicken or sausage, but as I had some leftover tofu from a hot & sour soup R&D, I decided to find a way to use that.
I stand firmly against those who claim they can make vegetarian/vegan “bacon” by using liquid smoke. First of all – NO! Secondly, JUST NO! Yes, I am well aware that liquid smoke is a somewhat natural product made from distilled wood smoke vapors, but that does not change the fact it is a shitty ingredient. It adds an overly chemical fake smoke taste regardless of concentration. I most often see it being used in vegetarian or vegan recipes as a way to add smoke flavor to fake bacon. That’s just pointless. If you’re going to be vegan or vegetarian, you’re going to have to live without the taste of bacon – plain and simple! Besides, there are a host of better ways to prepare non-meat proteins to sub for bacon and add umami to a breakfast sandwich.
When it comes down to the truth, it’s not bacon’s smokiness we crave – it the salty savory punch it delivers. I also prefer peppered bacon for a bit of subtle heat. I started by seeing what often appeared in “vegan bacon” recipes other than liquid smoke. Soy sauce, maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, onion powder, and garlic powder were the most common. Makes sense – that forms a fairly solid base for a bacon-like saltiness. I added some hoisin to kick up the umami and chili garlic sauce for heat.
Once the marinade was settled, I took some very well pressed very dry tofu, sliced thinly, and marinated overnight. There are three very important points in that last sentence. For this tofu recipe to work, there has to be as little moisture as possible. I pressed the tofu the day before and left it wrapped in a towel overnight. It was as dry as tofu can be. Second, and this is easier with low moisture tofu, slice it thin! 1/8-inch is perfect. This will increases the saturation of the marinade into the strip and aids in crisping when baked. Finally, you could let this marinate for as little as 4 hours, but if you plan a bit in advance so this can sit overnight, you will get a better richer end product.
While these tofu strips vaguely look like bacon, the taste leans heavily toward a sweet-salty heat profile. It crisps up beautifully and goes remarkably well with a runny egg yolk, Muenster cheese and a bit of BBQ sauce. No – it’s not tofu bacon. It’s actually something better. The time required to prep this is rewarded with a breakfast sandwich you’ll love and make you turn your back on fake bacon forever.
FRIED EGG I’M IN LOVE
Two over easy eggs, Muenster cheese, Chili Hoisin tofu, mayo, and BBQ or hot sauce on a pretzel bagel
Makes 1 sandwich
NY style bagel or roll
2-ounces Muenster cheese, sliced
3-4 strips Chili Hoisin tofu
Sweet Lightnin’ BBQ Sauce or hot sauce
Preheat your broiler. Cut the bagel open and place on a baking sheet. Place slices of cheese on each bagel half and put under broiler until melted and bagel is toasted. Set aside.
Make two eggs over easy or really in any style you want though scrambled would not make this a “fried egg”. When eggs are cooked, spread some mayo and BBQ or hot sauce on one half of the bagel – place the egg on the bagel half taking care not to break the yolk if over easy – top with the tofu strips. Spread some mayo and BBQ or hot sauce on the other bagel half and place on top of the tofu. Press down slightly to break the yolks and great ready to indulge in a messy breakfast sandwich heaven.
CHILI HOISIN TOFU
8 ounces tofu, pressed dry and sliced 1/8 inch thick
¼ cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 tablespoon hoisin
1 tablespoon chili garlic sauce
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
Combine everything but the tofu in a container with a lid and mix thoroughly. Add the sliced tofu and gently toss to coat. Make sure all of the tofu is coated and submerged in the marinade. Cover and place in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours but better overnight.
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place a metal rack on top. Place the tofu slices on the rack. Set the marinade aside to use later.
Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and flip each strip. Use some of the remaining marinade to brush the tops of the flipped strips. Place back into the oven for 12 minutes until the tofu is browned around the edges and getting firm. Remove from oven and let rest 5 minutes before using.