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Tofu Salad with Miso Dressing

This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

The texture of fresh tofu, either firm or soft, seems to be unacceptable to some Westerners. This preparation, in which tofu is marinated in miso, pan-fried, and served with assorted salad leaves, may change such an attitude. Try this joyful way to eat healthy tofu. The miso dressing used in this recipe may become one of your favorites.

4 servings

Cooking Methodfrying, pan-frying

CostModerate

Total Timea day or more

Make Ahead RecipeYes

OccasionCasual Dinner Party

Recipe Courseappetizer, main course

Dietary Considerationhealthy, kosher, lactose-free, peanut free, tree nut free, vegetarian

Equipmentdeep fryer

Mealdinner

Taste and Texturecrisp, garlicky, salty, savory, sharp, sweet, tangy, umami, winey

Type of Dishfirst course salad, main course salad

Ingredients

  • 2 blocks (about 22 ounces) firm tofu
  • 3½ ounces Saikyomiso (sweet white miso)
  • ¼ cup sake (rice wine)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 clove crushed garlic
  • 1 garlic clove, halved
  • 1 tablespoon tamamiso (miso and egg sauce), or more Saikyomiso
  • 1 teaspoon smooth French-style mustard
  • 1 tablespoon komezu (rice vinegar)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or vegetable oil
  • Tamari
  • Salt
  • ¼ kabocha squash, seeded but not peeled, preferably, or 1 small sweet potato
  • 1 medium lotus root, preferably, or 1 small potato
  • 1 medium carrot
  • Vegetable oil, for deepfrying
  • ¼ cup potato starch or cornstarch
  • Mixed salad greens

Instructions

  1. Cut each tofu block in half horizontally, making four rectangular slices. In a flat-bottomed dish, combine the 3½ ounces Saikyo miso, the sake, sugar, and crushed garlic. Add the tofu slices, coat them with the miso mixture, and marinate them overnight, covered, in the refrigerator.

  2. Make the dressing: Rub the inside surface of a medium bowl with the halved garlic. Add the 1 tablespoon tamamiso or Saikyo miso, the mustard, and komezu one at a time, and beat with a whisk. Add the olive oil or vegetable oil little by little, whisking continuously, until the mixture emulsifies. Season the dressing with drops of tamari and salt. Chill the miso dressing in a jar with a tight-fitting lid in the refrigerator.

  3. Cut the piece of kabocha in half crosswise, then cut each half into thin lengthwise slices. Cut the root vegetables into thin disks.

  4. In a large pot, heat 3 inches of vegetable oil to 320 degrees F. Add the vegetables to the oil in small batches, and cook them over low heat for about 2 to 3 minutes. Drain the vegetables on a rack. At this point you can set them aside for up to 3 hours.

  5. Increase the temperature of the oil to 360 degrees F. Return the fried vegetables to the oil, and cook them for 30 to 60 seconds, until they are crisp and light golden. Drain the vegetables on a rack, and, while they are hot, sprinkle them generously with salt.

  6. Remove the tofu slices from the miso marinade, and, with a paper towel, wipe off the marinade completely. In a flat-bottomed square container, dredge the tofu slices in the potato starch, patting the slices to remove excess starch from the tofu. Heat a skillet over high heat, and add 5 tablespoons fresh oil. When the oil is hot, add the tofu slices, and cook them over medium heat, turning them once, until they are golden on both sides. Remove the tofu slices from the skillet to a plate, and let them stand for 5 minutes.

  7. In a large bowl, toss the salad greens with the miso dressing. Cut the tofu into ½-inch strips and serve them on top of salad greens with crisp vegetables.

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