janet @ the taste space

Japanese Tomato Tofu Caprese Salad

In Mains (Vegetarian), Salads on October 4, 2010 at 5:42 AM

I was waiting patiently all summer. My heirloom tomato plants were late bloomers, you see. I ate a few tomatoes here and there when I noticed them earlier in the season, but nothing that I could harvest as a meal. Now my plants have a lot of tomatoes for the picking.

I would feel guilty using my heirloom cherry tomatoes in anything but a salad and I knew exactly what I wanted to make with them first: Momofuku‘s Tomato Tofu Caprese Salad (spotted via Belm Blog).

This is fusion cuisine at its best, where the classic Italian flavours from the caprese salad (tomato, mozzarella, basil and balsamic vinegar) are infused with Japanese flair.

First, a portion of small cherry tomatoes are poached, lightly cooked and skinned. The remainder remain raw and are halved. The textural contrast, with the skinned poached tomatoes and the raw crisp tomatoes was wonderful. Heirloom tomatoes, with their varying colours and tastes work really well with the mix (my green zebra tomatoes were the most sweet of all!).

Next, the traditional buffalo mozzarella is replaced with silken tofu. I realize this is sacrilegious to the purists. My brother ate caprese salad every day throughout this honeymoon in Italy, it was that good. Buffalo mozzarella can be a difficult find, and to be honest,  I really liked the silken tofu as it sopped up the extra dressing. It was light, tasty and incredibly filling. This was a main meal salad, especially when I added the baby arugula.

The typical basil is replaced with shiso, which is a Japanese herb that tastes similar to mint. I decided to pluck basil from my balcony instead of searching out shiso.

The dressing was changed from a heavier balsamic to a light sherry vinaigrette with deep tones from the sesame oil and soy sauce. Now I knew this was a definitely a Japanese interpretation.

This is a tad more work than a standard salad, but trust me when I say the poaching of the tomatoes are worth it. The variety of both flavours and textures are remarkable. Together, we have a delicious salad.

This is my submission to Deb for this week’s Souper Sundays, to My Kitchen, My World, featuring Japanese dishes this month, to this month’s My Legume Love Affair, hosted by Dil Se, and to Ricki and Kim’s vegan SOS challenge featuring sesame.

Japanese Tomato Tofu Caprese Salad

1/2 package silken tofu (200 g)
2 cups cherry tomatoes, preferably colourful heirloom tomatoes

1/8 cup sherry vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)
1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil
1-1/2 tsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp sesame oil
handful shiso (or mint and basil), chiffonade (I used basil)
4 cups baby arugula or other mixed greens (optional)

1. Reserve 1/4 of the tomatoes, cut in half and set aside.

2. Cook and peel tomatoes but cutting a small ‘x’ on the bottom of the tomato. Drop into boiling water for 20 seconds and quickly rinse under cold water and drain. Peel the tomatoes once cool.

3. Carefully slice the tofu into different shapes. I sliced the package vertically in 1-cm slices, then punched out circles from the outline of a mug.

4. Prepare the vinaigrette by whisking together the vinegar, olive oil, soy sauce and sesame oil.

5. Combine the vinaigrette with the cooked and sliced tomatoes.

6. Place the slices of tofu on a plate, top with tomatoes and sprinkle with shiso/mint/basil chiffonade.

Serves 2-3.

  1. I love the sound of this!

  2. This is an absolutely stunning dish; great photos! The oatmeal, eggplant and bulgur salad, too. Basically everything on this front page. Glad I hopped over to the site from your comment on another blog!



  3. I have to say, I’m always a sucker for a good caprese salad and this absolutely intrigues me. I guess I’m not as much of a purist as I thought! (That and I really love tofu.) Truly delicious. A gorgeous use of those heirloom tomatoes!

  4. Such a gorgeous salad! Poaching just some of the tomatoes is a great idea. Your crop is so beautiful! And I would never have thought to use tofu instead of cheese (I think you meant “tofu,” not “tomato,”?). And I bet the Asian-Italian fusion works really well. Thanks for submitting this to the SOS Challenge this month–a really inventive recipe! 🙂

  5. Such a fun fusion recipe–it looks delicious and what a great idea to replace the cheese with tofu. Thanks for sending it to Souper Sundays. 😉

  6. What an interesting fusion dish!

  7. […] I was in awe of Kris’s chickpea flour omelet–doesn’t it look great? And how about this Caprese-inspired Japanese Tomato Tofu Salad? I also loved this Zatter Casserole and Sesame Roasted Eggplant with Rice […]

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