A Calming, Meditative Dish from Chef David Chang
He may be known for his potty-mouth and explosive, imploding personality.
But New York Chef David Chang of the mini Momofuku restaurant empire can sure put together one soothing, serene dish.
That’s just what you’ll enjoy in his “Cherry Tomato & Tofu Salad” from the newest Alice Waters cookbook, “In the Green Kitchen” (Clarkson Potter).
The founder of the landmark restaurant, Chez Panisse in Berkeley, Waters put this book together from dishes created by chefs at the 2008 Slow Food Nation event in San Francisco. The premise of the book, of which I recently received a review copy, is that by keeping a well stocked pantry, learning a few basic techniques and seeking out the best organic, local and seasonal ingredients, anyone can create simple meals that nourish and satisfy.
I was fortunate enough to see Chang create this tofu dish at a cooking demo at Slow Food Nation. It’s a super simple dish of creamy, cold tofu topped with a zingy dressing of sherry vinegar, olive oil, sesame oil and sesame seeds that’s finished with refreshing shiso leaves and a bountiful handful of sweet summer cherry tomatoes. If you don’t have shiso readily available, fresh mint or basil leaves would make a fine substitution.
It’s like an Asian take on insalata caprese, with good-for-you tofu standing in for mozzarella. Enjoy it as a first course or as a light lunch on a lazy, warm afternoon, when the only swearing you plan to do is about how good this is.
Cherry Tomato & Tofu Salad
(Makes 2 servings)
2 teaspoons soy sauce
A few drops of toasted sesame oil
A dash of sherry vinegar
1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
Fresh-ground black pepper
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
1 cup ripe cherry tomatoes, halved
2 slices very fresh tofu or yuba (tofu skin), 1/2-inch thick and about 2 by 4 inches
Combine soy sauce, sesame oil, vinegar and olive oil, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Toasted sesame oil is very potent and should be used sparingly. Add dressing and sesame seeds to the cherry tomatoes and mix together. Arrange tofu on a plate and spoon over tomatoes and dressing. Cut fresh shiso leaves into fine ribbons, or tear leaves into pieces, and scatter over tomatoes and tofu, then serve.
From David Chang, as published in “In the Green Kitchen” by Alice Waters