Baked lemon tofu double citrus salad

by sophie on February 21, 2011 · 14 comments

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This salad recipe uses my new crush, gorgeous Tarocco oranges from Sicily, accompanied with peppery watercress and baked tofu.  When I first started trying to eat more sustainably choosing fruit in Winter was a big shopping headache. After all, there is pretty much no fruit that grows in the UK between November and the first forced rhubarb in February.  My attitude to this has relaxed rather over the last year, after all, part of sustainable eating needs to be about sustaining ourselves too don’t you think?  I buy fruit from Europe with two caveats; first, if it grows easily in the UK I’ll wait and buy it locally and seasonally instead and second, forgetting to use this fruit and letting it go to waste is not an option.  This feels like a good compromise given the massive environmental impact caused by food waste. There are so many stunning varieties of citrus are in season across Europe right now and none of them are ever available “homegrown” (whereas buying apples from New Zealand just doesn’t feel like such a good compromise).

Grab a bagful of these Tarocco Sicilian oranges if you see them for they are both beautiful and delicious. Sweet, refreshing and less acerbic than most varieties, they also have a delicate red speckle through the flesh for which they are known in Sicily as “half-blood” oranges.  The red colour is due to beta-cryptoxanthin, a compound similar to beta carotene and which our bodies can convert into Vitamin A as well as acting as an anti-oxidant in its own right.  The baked tofu is surprisingly savoury because of the garlic and shallots, a good contrast to the sweet orange segments.  Cooking yourself an extra block of tofu is a great idea so that you can put it into sandwiches, salads and wraps later in the week.

Being able to segment an orange is fantastic kitchen skill to have and a doddle once someone has shown you how. If you’ve never done this before check out Tea’s photographic instructions on How to supreme an orange or grapefruit. And while you’re there take a look at her Winter Survival Citrus ideas which I’m sure burrowed its way into my greedy subconscious and winded up where I am now (with a fridge full of oranges, lemons and clementines).

Nutrition highlights: superstar green leafy veg, vitamin C infused Citrus fruit and calcium rich tofu.

Recipe for Baked lemon tofu double citrus salad

Tarocco oranges are lovely if you can get them. Alternatively just substitute one orange and one blood orange.

Serves 2

1 x 400g block firm tofu
Half a lemon
A bag of watercress
2 medium oranges
Black pepper

For the citrus paste

Zest of one lemon
Juice of half a lemon
1 tbsp rapeseed oil or olive oil
A small handful flat leaf parsley leaves
1 clove garlic, peeled
1 shallot, peeled and quartered

Unwrap the tofu from its packaging and wrap in paper kitchen towels or a clean cotton tea towel. Place the tofu on a plate and weigh down with a heavy object to drain as much of the liquid out as you can (I use a heavy, cast iron pan). Leave for 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 180 C / 360 F.

Blend the citrus paste ingredients together into a rough paste using an electric blender or a pestle and mortar.

Discard the wet towels from the tofu. Slice through the tofu horizontally to give two flat pieces.  Cut each of these into half and cut these pieces into small triangles.

Place the tofu in a lightly oiled baking dish and coat each side with the citrus paste. Cut the remaining lemon half into thin half moon shapes. Top each tofu triangle with a slice of lemon (don't worry if you don't have enough for each tofu piece).  Sprinkle liberally with freshly ground black pepper.

Bake the tofu in the oven for 25 minutes.

While the tofu cooks, chop the pith and peel from each orange and cut into segments. Do this over a bowl to catch the juice.

Divide the watercress and orange segments equally between two bowls.

When the tofu is cooked and golden top remove from the oven and add to the salad bowls. Drizzle over the remaining juices from the orange and serve.

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