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Nappa Cabbage Slaw with Tofu

Contrary to the impression created by that tag cloud to your right, I do not subsist entirely on cookies.

In an effort to show that I’m not just about sweets, this was our quick, refreshing and easy middle-of-the-week dinner tonight. It was thrown together in all of fifteen minutes, because the baked tofu was store-bought and the carrot dressing was left over from Monday’s arugula salad. Still, even with making the dressing from scratch and simply pan-frying some plain tofu with a splash of soy and a sprinkle of seasoning, you’ll still be well under the half-hour mark on this one.

The carrot dressing, the same kind you frequently get on salads in Japanese restaurants, is sweet and substantial enough to act almost as a second vegetable. You could add any other embellishments you like, but it’s been so insufferably hot that I have barely wanted to eat, let alone cook, and this kind of plainness is exactly what I was looking for. With the tofu, it’s a full meal for a summer day, but without the tofu it would be a great side dish for heartier fare in less oppressive weather.

Nappa Cabbage Slaw with Carrot Dressing and Tofu
Serves 4

1 head nappa cabbage
1/2 pound of carrots (approx 3 medium or 6 small), peeled
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
3 tablespoons grated ginger
3 tablespoons thinly sliced garlic scapes or 1 shallot, minced
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon dry sherry
1/2 cup grapeseed or other mild-flavored oil
4 oz baked seasoned tofu
1/4 cup sesame seeds

Roughly chop the carrots and place in a blender with the water, vinegar, ginger, scapes or shallot, soy, sherry and sesame oil. Blend until smooth. With the motor running, drizzle in the oil slowly to form an emulsion.

In a dry frying pan over medium-high heat, toast the sesame seeds, stirring or tossing frequently, until golden. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature while finishing the salad.

Thinly slice the tofu into strips.

Finely shred the cabbage and toss with enough dressing to generously coat but not drown the greens. Dish into shallow bowls, top with the tofu, and sprinkle heavily with the sesame seeds.