Baked lemon tofu double citrus salad

by sophie on February 21, 2011 · 14 comments

Post image for Baked lemon tofu double citrus salad

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.


kathryn February 22, 2011 at 06:49

Good heavens Sophie, there are so many very good ideas in here. Love the paste, love the lemon wedge on top of the tofu. And I love that you’ve baked the tofu – I’ve actually “forgotten” about this method of cooking as I’ve been grilling and shallow frying my tofu recently. I can imagine using this in all sorts of different ways. Lovely stuff.

sophie February 23, 2011 at 18:45

Hi Kathryn, I’m pleased to have tried out the baking idea as I usually fry tofu and it can really soak up the oil. I have never tried grilling it so I will add that to my “to try” list – thanks for the tip. I’m looking forward to experimenting by baking it with different flavours too.

Helen @ Fuss Free Flavours February 22, 2011 at 09:53

Lovely recipe Sophie, especially with its promise of spring.

I adore tofu and will be making this soon!

sophie February 23, 2011 at 18:41

Thanks Helen – do I remember rightly that you make your own tofu? That would be even better!

Johanna GGG February 22, 2011 at 09:58

winter is bleak for a fruit lover – it is that time of year I wish I had a pantry of bottles of preserved stewed fruit like my mum used to do! I am not a lover of lemons – do you actually eat the baked lemons? I find them so tart that I can’t imagine it but have enjoyed some salads with a lot of lemon juice and zest

sophie February 23, 2011 at 18:48

Hi Johanna, the baked lemons might not be to everyone’s taste :-) I love them and regularly include them in the tray with my roasted vegetables but the flavour can be a little bitter. They’re really easy to discard once they have done their job flavouring the tofu if you don’t like them.

Elaine February 22, 2011 at 21:24

Such a delicious, gorgeous recipe, Sophie. It looks like sunshine on a plate.

I think your caveats are sensible & I’d be wise to adopt them. In fact, you made me curious about whether citrus fruits can be grown in the mildest growing zones of my province. I did some searching in the informative UBC Botanical Gardens Forums and found a Vancouver Island nursery that sells citrus cultivars, some of which can be grown outdoors. Now I’m very curious & will be seeking more information. I wonder if I might be able to buy some almost-local citrus fruit.

Your posts always give so much food for thought in addition to healthy, tasty recipes. As Kathryn said, “so many good ideas in here.” Thank you for all the extras including how to slice the fruit correctly.

Beautiful photography as usual – a feast for the eyes :-).

sophie February 23, 2011 at 18:49

Thanks Elaine – it cheered me up to look at this food too. We need something that looks AND tastes bright at this time of year!

I’ll be interested to hear what you find out about local citrus – it was so fascinating reading up on these Tarocco oranges having never seen them before

sally March 3, 2011 at 01:01

What a beautiful salad! I love the color from the oranges!

K March 4, 2011 at 08:16

Looks great and so pretty too!

Arwen from Hoglet K March 7, 2011 at 03:24

That does sound like a good way to eat tofu, and the half-blood oranges sound gorgeous.

millie March 12, 2011 at 15:10

Lovely recipe I am always lokking for new ways to use Tofu.

Michael Hines March 17, 2011 at 19:41

Hi there Sophie!

This is a really cool blog! I am sure you hear that all the time but I do mean it. It is easy to navigate and your pictures of the different dishes really do stand out. Especially this one with the tofu,watercress and oranges!

My mouth is watering just look at it! I personally love tofu. I agree with you trying to find fruit in the UK when it comes to the winter. Not an easy task. Thank you for posting the recipe. Something I am personally going to try this week and I am sure that I will impress my wife tremendously! She loves watercress…

Take care


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