Crispy pan-fried tofu + radicchio salad with a light sesame dressing.
Pan-fried tofu: Place a 12-14 oz. block of firm tofu on a cooling rack over a plate. Put another plate on top of the tofu and place a weight on it (a heavy book, a tin of beans, etc.) Make sure things are well-balanced and nothing will topple over. This draining method will get rid of as much liquid from the tofu as possible, which will give you a crispier pan-fryng result. Drain for about 30 min. or as long as possible. Pat dry with paper towels or a clean dish towel. Cut tofu in half, then in slices. In a small bowl, mix ¼ cup cornstarch with ½ tsp garlic powder, a scant amount of salt and some ground Sichuan pepper (optional). Preheat a well-seasoned cast iron or nonstick pan, add in a couple tablespoons of neutral oil and heat until shimmering. Coat tofu slices with the cornstarch mixture, shaking off excess and carefully place in hot oil. Work in batches to avoid crowding. Pan-fry on medium-high until golden, about 4-minutes. Turn and fry the other side until golden as well. Remove from pan and place on paper towel-lined plate or cooling rack. Fry the remaining batches.
Radicchio salad: Roughly chop or shred a small head of radicchio and place in a bowl along with a couple sliced Persian cucumbers. Mix about 2 Tbsp of unseasoned rice vinegar with 1 tsp fish sauce and a pinch of sugar. While stirring, drizzle in toasted sesame oil. Adjust ingredient amounts to taste. Add a bit of chili oil if you like things spicy. Toss dressing with radicchio + cucumber salad. Serve salad with pan-fried tofu on top, sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and cilantro leaves and/or scallions.