A versatile way to use zucchini: cook it with tomatoes and Mexican spices. Previously frozen tofu brings some interesting texture and protein. Great as a taco or quesadilla filling, or served with rice and beans.
To have frozen tofu ready, you need to start this a few days ahead of time. See notes for instructions.
Place unpeeled garlic cloves in a dry skillet over medium heat. Cook, turning occasionally, until the garlic is soft, about 10-15 minutes. After they cool, peel the garlic, and mince. Set aside.
Slice the zucchini lengthwise in half or in quarters, depending on how large you want the pieces. Slice into 1/4" to 1/2" pieces, and put into a bowl.
Cut the onion into small to medium-sized pieces, put into a bowl.
Dice the tomatoes into medium-sized pieces, and put into a bowl. Add the spices, oregano, salt and combine.
Press the thawed tofu to remove excess water. Either dice the tofu, or pull it apart for a more random appearance.
Place a large skillet (preferably non-stick or well-seasoned cast iron or carbon steel) over high heat. When hot, add vegetable oil, swirl the pan, and add the zucchini. Sprinkle some salt over the zucchini (about 1 tsp). Cook, turning occasionally, until the zucchini starts turning golden brown (in my experience, even browning is unlikely). Remove from the pan, leaving as much oil behind as possible.
Reduce the heat to medium
Add a little more oil, then the onion. Cook until the onion has softened (or, if you like crispier onions, less time).
Add minced roasted garlic, cook for about 10 seconds.
Add zucchini, chopped tomatoes, spices and tofu.
Simmer for 5 minutes.
(Optional) Garnish with chopped cilantro, toasted pumpkin seeds, or Mexican aged cheese (queso anejo).
Based on a recipe in Rick Bayless's Mexican Kitchen ("Seared Zucchini with Roasted Tomato, Chipotle, and Chorizo")
To have frozen tofu ready, you need to start this a few days ahead of time: drain the tofu, wrap in plastic, and place in freezer. Freeze until solid. To thaw, unwrap and place in water, changing the water now and then.
"Mexican oregano" is a different species than the oregano found in most spice sections (i.e., Greek or Italian oregano) and has a different flavor profile. I have an old post about why this Mexican herb is called oregano. Mexican oregano is available at many Latin American groceries and from specialty stores (like Rancho Gordo: Mexican Oregano, or Oregano Indio)
Smoked paprika can be found in many grocery and specialty stores.
The red chile powder called for in the recipe is not "chili powder," which is a blend of herbs and spices for chili. That mix might work OK, but is not what I have tested. I use Rancho Gordo's New Mexican Red Chile Powder. You can also make your own by grinding dried chilies (after removing the stem, and the membrane if you are sensitive to heat).