Thursday, March 1, 2007
Warm Veggie Salad with Umeboshi Dressing
I remember the first time I tried tofu. I was about 22 and on a diet. The recipe was for a tofu stir-fry. Health magazines were raving about tofu and soy at the time so I gave it in try. I fell in love.
But since then I have found it hard to find tofu recipes I really like. Tofu takes on the flavor of sauce (which is probably why the stir-fry was so good). But many recipes I have tried are very light and healthy so they keep the purity of the tofu. And I just don't like the taste on its own. But the warm tofu and steamed vegetable salad with plum dressing from the Japanese Light cookbook is a keeper. It is a perfect mix of light vegetables that nicely compliment the lightness of the tofu.
The dressing is made from pickled plums. They may sound gross but to me that sound interesting. Known as umeboshi, you can find these in an Asian market. They are very small, about the size of large grapes. This recipe calls for them to be mashed and I found that a bit hard to do. There are pits inside and I just mashed them up with a fork as best as I could. But the flavor went perfect with the veggies. The dressing was light and not oily at all. I really enjoyed this meal - and I learned a new way to cook spinach!
Wrap the tofu with paper towels and let drain for 30 minutes. Bring a saucepan of water to a boil and add the spinach, then immediately turn off the heat and drain the spinach. Squeeze the excess water from it. Steam the rest of the vegetables and cover them to keep warm.
Mix together all the ingredients for the umeboshi dressing and set aside.
Cut the drained tofu into 1/2-inch cubes. Arrange the vegetables and tofu in a large warm serving dish. Put the vegetable oil and sesame oil in a metal cooking spoon and heat until the oil mixture is almost smoking hot. Pour it over the salad and add the dressing. Toss and serve immediately.