Michał Korkosz’s first book, Fresh from Poland—a Booklist Top 10 Cookbook of 2020 hailed as “a vegetable wonderland” by The San Francisco Chronicle—brought a Polish vegetarian cookbook to American readers for the first time. Now, he moves from celebrating Poland’s history with vegetarian versions of traditional recipes to exploring Polish cooking’s rich present with 100 exciting recipes.
Polish’d includes both typical Polish favourites made vegetarian, like Kakory (Potato Empanadas) Filled with Roasted Vegetables and Cheese, and new flavours brought to Poland through immigration and cultural exchange, like Miso Żurek with Mashed Potatoes, Roasted Mushrooms, and Dill. Its recipes showcase fresh vegetables, grains, and herbs, but there’s also plenty of buttery, sugary, and cheesy comfort-food goodness to be found. Readers will see, and taste, Polish food in a new way as they enjoy dishes like:
- Chilled Cucumber-Melon Soup with Goat Cheese, Crispy Apple, and Mint
- Kopytka with Umami Sauce, Spinach, Hazelnuts, and Poppy Furikake
- Nettle Pesto Pasta with Radishes and Asparagus
- Grilled Broccoli with Lemon Mayo, Umami Bomb Sauce and Poppy Seeds
- Tomatoes and Peaches with Soft Goat Cheese, Crispy Sage, and Superior Brown Butter Sauce
- Carmelized Twaróg Basque Cheesecake
Korkosz was the winner of the 2017 Saveur Blog Award for best food blog photography, and his gorgeous photos make these offerings even more mouthwatering. His love for his home country’s culinary tradition and innovation is at the heart of each recipe. With its unique take on this oft-ignored cuisine, Polish’d will please readers with Polish heritage, vegetarian fans of Eastern European food, and anyone looking for creative ways to enjoy plant-based fare.
Polish’d: Modern Vegetarian Cooking from Global Poland by
Crispy Smoked Tofu with Black Polish Sauce
Serves 2 as a main dish or 4 as a side dish
Black Polish Sauce, often known as pepper sauce, was one of the most common and essential sauces in kuchnia staropolska (Old Polish cuisine). It was made with plum jam, vinegar, honey, and ginger, along with copious amounts of pepper. Burned straw was used to give the sauce its distinctive black color and also provided a smoky flavor. It was most often served with meat, particularly roasted goose. I’ve recreated this dish using smoked tofu and soy sauce to reproduce the colour and deep taste.
- One 12-ounce (340 g) block firm smoked tofu
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ½ cup (120 ml) neutral oil, such as canola or grapeseed
- 1 tablespoon whole peppercorns, plus more for serving
- 3 tablespoons plum jam
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons honey
- One 1-inch (2.5 cm) piece fresh ginger, thinly sliced
- Drain the tofu and press between several layers of paper or kitchen towels to remove excess liquid. Repeat the process once more, and cut it into ¾-inch (2 cm) slices.
- On a large plate, combine the cornstarch and salt. Dredge the tofu in the mixture to coat. Set aside.
- Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. The oil is ready when a pinch of bread crumbs bubbles immediately. Carefully add the tofu slices one by one so the oil doesn’t splash. Cook until crisp and brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Carefully flip and repeat on the opposite side. Reduce the heat to medium-low and remove the tofu from the skillet. Place the tofu on a plate covered with a few layers of paper or kitchen towels to drain. Discard any remaining oil from the skillet.
- Coarsely crush the peppercorns with a mortar and pestle or place in a resealable plastic bag and crush with a small saucepan. The consistency should be coarser than ground pepper.
- In a medium bowl, combine the plum jam, soy sauce, vinegar, honey, ginger, the crushed peppercorns, and ¼ cup (60 ml) water. Transfer to the cooled skillet and bring to a boil.
- Add the tofu. Cook, basting the tofu occasionally, until the sauce is thick enough to coat a spoon, about 3 minutes.
- To serve, divide among plates and top with more crushed peppercorns.
Recipe from Polish’d: Modern Vegetarian Cooking from Global Poland © Michał Korkosz, 2023. Reprinted by permission of the publisher, The Experiment. Available everywhere books are sold. theexperimentpublishing.com