Unexpected guests? This flavorful dish is quick and simple to prepare.
1 pound (1 large block) tofu
3 tablespoons mirin
2-2 1/2 tablespoons shoyu or tamari (to taste)
1 teaspoon juice squeezed from finely grated fresh ginger
2-3 teaspoons sesame oil (plain or toasted)
2 tablespoons finely minced scallion
Cut tofu crosswise into six equal slices. To remove excess moisture, wrap slices in a clean, dry kitchen towel and place on a wooden cutting board. Place a 2 to 3 pound weight on top and leave for 20 to 30 minutes.
Lay slices flat on a platter or baking pan. Combine mirin, soy sauce, and ginger juice, then pour mixture over tofu slices. Coat tofu on all sides and let marinate 15 to 20 minutes. Turn slices once or twice while marinating.
Heat the oil in a large skillet (cast iron or other heavy-bottomed pan works best) over medium-low heat. Remove tofu from marinade and set marinade aside. Drain excess liquid from tofu and fry on one side until lightly browned. (Browning will enhance tofu's flavor and appearance, but be careful not to burn.) Carefully turn slices and cook 2 to 3 minutes more. Add marinade and cook another 30 seconds. Place tofu slices on serving dishes. Top each slice with a little of the remaining liquid from the pan. Garnish with minced scallion and serve hot.