Playing around with food is great.
I'd been thinking about using the Vcon tahini-miso salad dressing as a marinade for a few days. Since I was making it a marinade instead of a creamy dressing, I used enough water to keep things good and liquid. I also used red miso instead of the requested white, because that's what we had. So I marinated the tofu, seared it, steamed some vegetables with it, and poured the whole business on top of a plate of greens. It was one of the best salads I've ever eaten.
Also, since the dressing as marinade gets soaked up by the tofu, you can make the salad itself with no dressing. MIND-BOGGLING.
Dressingless dressed tofu salad
firm nigari tofu
carrot, mushroom, red pepper, summer squash, etc.
romaine or other lettuce
Mix equal parts tahini and miso together with a fork. I didn't really measure, just used huge heaping spoonfuls for each. The two should mix easily into a smooth paste. Add at least double their volume in water and whisk until the paste is dissolved.
Cut your tofu into cubes, or whatever small salady shape you like. You could also use tempeh or chicken or fish or whatever sounds good with tahini-miso business. I plan on doing some eggplant experiments in the very near future.
Throw the cubes into the miso-tahini business and let them soak. I ended up letting mine soak overnight, which worked fine. An hour will work well too.
Heat a wide frying pan with a lid, throw in the tofu, and sear on all sides. I kept tossing mine around every few minutes, instead of trying to turn each individual piece to get the whitest side down. It should take somewhere between five and ten minutes (depending on how good your stove is) to get things nice and brown.
While the tofu is cooking, prep the other salad vegetables. For my main salad, I peeled and chopped half a carrot, diced half a red pepper, and chunked a handful of mushrooms. On the second batch, for John, I chopped up a small globe summer squash instead of the mushrooms. You can use any other vegetable that will steam to doneness easily: green beans definitely sound like a good idea. Use as many vegetables as you want.
For the base, I just washed and chopped a lot of romaine and threw it on a plate. You can use any leaves you want, but a crisper lettuce will stand up best to the heat of the cooked salad.
When the tofu is seared, scrape all your steaming vegetables into the pan, add a quarter cup or so of water, and clap the lid over everything. Let it cook for about five minutes, shaking or stirring occasionally. Then take the lid off the pan and let it sit for a minute, so any extra moisture evaporates. Take the pan off the heat and let it cool a little, so you don't wilt all the lettuce instantly. Then pour the pan contents over your plate of lettuce.
Eat. Oh man, isn't it great?
A salad this great demands wine. I had been pretty excited about even finding this business: Frey organic no-sulfide-added sauvignon blanc. However, it was not an especially good wine. The actual mouth taste was ok, but the aftertaste was pretty bad. We drank it anyway, as it wasn't That bad, but it definitely wasn't as good as I would've liked it to be.
Some better sauvignon blancs to try:
- Zolo, Argentina: sharp and crisp. We drink this all summer.
- Veramonte, Chile: sharp and thin, a little harsh.
- Page Mill, CA: sweeter and more rounded.
- Cartlidge & Browne, CA: this one's actually organic too, and good.
And that's the limit of my wine knowledge.