Sometimes a new gadget makes cooking more fun!
I have a new toy –– a tofu press. So many of my recipes for tofu call for pressing it first and then baking or cooking in some other way. It involves placing the tofu between two towel-lined plates, placing a balanced heavy can or pan on top, and never really feeling I got all the water out. Good, certainly adequate, but not perfect.
Set it and forget it
My tofu press was inexpensive and works like a dream. I can put the tofu in the press and let it live in the refrigerator all day or overnight. The texture comes out really nice! So, of course, I’ve been playing with my tofu recipes.
First came the chicken, then the tofu
This salad is one of my favorites and is a hybrid of a salad I made for a Victorian high tea my church put on one summer, the recipe based on my Mother-in-law Pat’s chicken salad. I decided to make it meatless, and it pretty much tastes the same and has a similar texture as the chicken salad! So, if you are looking for a meatless alternative for meat eaters, this one fits the bill.
Even more texture
Toasting the pecans is essential to the flavor of this, as is the fresh tarragon. However, if you cannot find fresh tarragon, reduce the amount of dried to 1 tsp. The pecans and apricots add tons of texture!
You can eat this as a salad on a bed of lettuce, arrange it in lettuce or cabbage cups or endive leaves, or eat it as a sandwich or wrap of course! It’ perfect picnic food, it’s also delicious stuffed in an avocado appearing as a starter for your dinner party!
Tofu Salad with Tarragon, Toasted Pecans, and Dried Apricots
- 1 block tofu, pressed, cubed (OR, two cups cooked, cubed chicken)
- ½ cup toasted pecans, quartered
- ½ cup minced dried apricots
- 1/3 cup minced shallot
- 1 tbsp. minced fresh tarragon
- ¼ cup mayonnaise or vegan mayonnaise
- 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp. lemon juice
- Zest of one lemon
- 1 tsp. maple syrup
- Salt and pepper
First, prepare the tofu. Press the tofu for at least one hour. Line a plate with paper towels, set the tofu on top, add another paper towel, and place a plate on top, weighted down with a heavy can or pan. Or, use a shiny new tofu press!
While the tofu drains, toast the pecans. Place them in a dried pan over medium high heat and watch them like a hawk, swirling the around to keep the toasting even. Once done, immediately remove to a large mixing bowl to stop the cooking.
Once pressed, cut the tofu into small bite-sized cubes. Dust them with corn starch and place on a greased cookie sheet, and bake for 15 minutes at 450 degrees. Don’t let it get too brown, this is not about roasting. Remove to the pecan bowl and let cool.
To the bowl of tofu add the apricots, shallot, and tarragon. Mix everything up gently.
In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, mustard, lemon juice and zest, and the maple syrup. Mix it up well and add to the tofu mixture along with desired salt and pepper. Gently mix and taste for seasoning. Refrigerate for an hour or two and the flavors will be even better!
Serve on a bed of lettuce or other greens, or stuff a sandwich or wrap!
P.S. I think I’m going to try to use this press to make my fresh lemon teacup cheese!
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