A Melody of Flavors
I went home to the family farm for the Labor Day weekend, and among other notable events, such as a major car “situation”, I spent some quality time with my dear ol’ dad in the garden. I’m not going to tell you how many watermelons I brought back with me to the city – it’s just too embarrassing. But I will tell you about the near-bushel box of yellow tomatoes since they’re my favorites and you can never have too many tomatoes. Aren’t they bee-U-tiful?
So, even while I have an entire box full of my “favorites” sitting in the basement, I decided to use the Sun Golds for this salad as I suspected their intense flavor would hold up better against the sweet smoky high and low notes of the cumin honey dressing. I was right. And the roasted tofu butts right in there with its nutty bass notes. When you get all of it in one bite, it’s a whole freakin’ orchestra playing a flavor symphony in your mouth!
A word on the tofu – the original recipe from the Food Network called for grilled halibut chunks. If you eat fish, this may just be the way to go since the roasting of the tofu greatly lengthens the preparation of this salad. Still, if like me, you aren’t a fish fan and you are a tofu fan, you might consider roasting up a couple packages of tofu at once and storing it for quick dishes such as these. I roast mine, let it cool completely and then store it in the fridge in a ziplock bag for up to a week. When the time comes to use it, it’s good cold, or reheat it in the oven at 400F for 5 minutes or so. It’s a great way to get some protein in any salad or other vegetable side dishes.
Summer Salad with Roasted Tofu and Cumin Dressing
Adapted from Everyday Italian
2 c. lettuce mix
12 or so sungold tomatoes or other cherry/grape variety
1/3 of a red onion, thinly sliced
1 package extra firm tofu cubes
1 can of chickpeas, drained
1/3 c. extra-virgin olive oil
2 lemons, juiced
2 teaspoons honey
1 1/2 t. ground cumin
1/2 t. ground rosemary
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. freshly ground black pepper
Begin by preparing the dressing. Whisk together all the ingredients except the oil. Slowly add the oil while whisking to emulsify the dressing. Set aside.
Drain the tofu (cube it into 1 inch cubes if you bought a solid block) and put in a bowl. Drizzle half the dressing over the tofu and toss with another pinch of salt and pepper. Let marinate for at least 30 minutes (or up to 4 hours). Preheat the oven to 400 F. Spread tofu out on a greased baking sheet and roast until golden, about 20-25 minutes.
Prepare the salad just before serving. In a large bowl, toss together the lettuce, tomatoes, onion and chickpeas. Whisk reserved dressing again to be sure it’s combined and then drizzle over salad. Toss again and top with roasted tofu.