The first time I tried curly endive, I was pretty taken aback. It looked like lettuce, but it sure didn’t taste like lettuce. It was bitter and tough, and didn’t have even a hint of sweetness. However, over time, the taste has grown on me. I’m certainly not about to eat an entire salad of endive, but I also find that a bit of bitter greens adds a nice kick to an otherwise plain salad.
Leafy greens, bitter or not, are one of the easiest things to grow in a garden, and are a great way to have an early harvest, because they are ready to be picked about a month after sowing. So in late May and early June we eat a lot of salads!
This salad is simple to make and is packed with flavour. There are lots of ways you can customize it to your taste – choose your greens, choose your tofu marinade, choose your salad dressing. Don’t have tofu on hand? Use edamame instead. It can be a different salad every time you make it.
How to make baked tofu
Starting with firm tofu, place it on a surface that will allow liquid to drain off. Place a plate on top, then something heavy to press it. Allow it to sit overnight (in the fridge) to extract as much liquid as possible. As a shortcut to this step, you can freeze the tofu in advance. Once it thaws, the water can be squeezed out by hand.
Cut the tofu into bite-sized cubes, and add your flavourings. The drained tofu is like a sponge, and will soak up any liquid you give it. Be creative! You can try BBQ sauce, teriyaki sauce, ginger and soy sauce, whatever you think of. One of my favourites is simply lemon juice and a bit of spice (like cayenne). Allow the tofu to marinate for at least 30 minutes.
Drain any marinade that is left over, and place the cubes in a 300ºF oven. Bake for 20-40 minutes, turning from time to time. The amount of baking time depends on how large your cubes are. When the cubes start to brown on the outside, you know they are ready. Allow to cool.
These cubes are great to use as a quick and easy source of protein for pretty much anything you are making!
- 1/4 block firm tofu (100g), baked (see directions above)
- 4 cups mixed greens (we use a mix of lettuce, sylvetta, endive and Italian dandelion)
- 1/2 tbs olive oil
- 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
- sesame seeds for garnish (optional)
- Wash the greens and rip into bite sized pieces into a large bowl.
- Whisk the oil and vinegar together, and pour over greens, tossing to coat. Salt and pepper to taste.
- Add the baked tofu and pumpkin seeds, and sprinkle with sesame seeds.