Photo by John Ivanko
Hello summer! As we start harvesting our early raspberries and ogle that first cucumber, the lettuce patch feels a bit overlooked. We craved and celebrated those salad greens back in early spring, but by late June, that relationship has grown stale and boring. What do you do when the connection with greens grows dull? The advice we get for marriage can also apply to the garden harvest: Spice things up a bit. Only in this case, we’re talking hot peppers.
Our recipe for Farmstead Greens with Honey-Jalapeño Dressing and Fried Tofu makes a distinct, decadent hearty meal out of the salad patch. We concocted this recipe after tasting the Fried Chicken Salad at Heaven on Seven during a road trip to Chicago and found ourselves craving that finger-licking, Cajun-inspired flavor back home in rural Wisconsin, but only had tofu in the fridge.
Tofu needs a lot of seasoning to match the flavor of fried chicken, hence this recipe’s long list of seasoning ingredients. The batter coating can readily be adapted to other items you may have on the spice rack, so feel free to experiment and substitute—just make sure to keep enough salt-based items in there.
The dressing with the heavy cream, honey and pepper adds a sweet kick to the tofu and greens. We’re pretty low on the spicy-eating scale, so we stick with one jalapeño, but feel free to take it up a heat notch with more jalapeños or experiment with other pepper flavors, such as New Mexican green chilies. Remember sugar cools down the heat affect of peppers, so the honey in the dressing will lower the heat index a bit. Stick with fresh peppers in the dressing (canned or frozen can get a bit too mushy) and make the dressing a few hours ahead of time so the flavors can mingle.
Recipe: Farmstead Greens with Honey Jalapeño Dressing and Fried Tofu
Yield: 2 servings
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1 small jalapeño, chopped (more to taste)
- 1/4 cup chopped green onions
- 1/4 tsp. pepper
- 3 T. honey
- 1-pound package extra-firm tofu
- 1 cup flour
- 3 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. pepper
- 1/2 tsp. sugar
- 1/2 tsp. oregano
- 1/4 tsp. paprika
- 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp. garlic salt
- 1/4 tsp. celery salt
- 1/4 tsp. thyme
- 1/8 tsp. cumin
- 1/8 tsp. nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp. cinnamon
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
- One large bunch salad greens, washed and torn into pieces
Gently mix all dressing ingredients together with a whisk and chill.
Drain tofu by wrapping in clean towel and placing under heavy item, such as big tin of olive oil. Let sit for about 1 hour, until tofu is completely drained.
In a low dish, mix flour with all seasonings and set aside. In a separate low dish, mix eggs and Worcestershire sauce.
Slice pressed tofu into half-inch strips. Dip tofu in egg mixture, and let excess drip off. Then dredge egg-covered tofu slice in flour-seasoning mixture, making sure all sides are covered. In a frying pan over medium-heat, fry tofu slices for about 3 minutes on each side or until golden brown and crispy.
Serve fried tofu warm over greens and top with dressing.
Savoring the good life,