There is nothing quite like a good salad and a glass of wine out on the deck in warm weather. This salad is the perfect mix of 'light and refreshing" and "surprisingly filling", and isn't that just what you need in summer? The real beauty of this salad though is that the marinade doubles as the base for the dressing because you're not using meat - so nothing goes to waste!
In this salad I added something a bit special which I call 'mature snow peas' - which means that I left the snow peas on the plants in my garden until they became big fat pea pods and ate the peas. I realise you'll only be able to do this if you have a vegie garden (and if you do then you should try it because they are lovely sweet peas!), if you don't then you can either add plain fresh garden peas or just leave that bit out.
300g hard tofu
1/3 cup soy sauce
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 red chilli
1 tbsp sesame seeds
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 cup shelled fresh broad beans (has to be fresh for this one!!)
1 thing of broccoli, cut into florets
2 tbsp sunflower seeds
1/4 spanish onion, sliced thinly
1 cucumber, diced
2 vine ripened tomatoes, cut into wedges
1 tbsp capers (drained)
1/3 cup fresh peas (see note above)
Baby spinach (plenty)
2 tbsp olive oil, for frying
1 tbsp tahini
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1. Drain the hard tofu and squeeze to remove as much liquid as possible. Cut into chunks about 2cm by 1cm and put in a flattish bowl. Add the soy sauce, crushed garlic, sesame oil and sesame seeds. Roughly chop the chilli and add that too (including seeds). Mix well. Marinate for at least 2 hours, stirring occasionally to evenly spread the marinade.
2. Preheat the oven or grill to 150 degrees C. Toast the sunflower seeds until lightly browned, this will only take a few minutes so keep your eve on them the whole time! Put aside and turn off the oven.
3. Steam the broad beans and broccoli until just cooked (but not overcooked!) then remove from the heat and allow to cool in a strainer (I recommend doing this step while your oven is preheating). When they are cool enough to touch peel the outer skins off the broad beans (they should have gone all wrinkly during steaming so all you have to do is cut the outer skin open and squeeze them out).
4. In a large bowl combine the baby spinach, spanish onion, chopped cucumber, sunflower seeds, capers, cold steamed vegies and tomatoes. Mix to combine.
5. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a fry pan. Scoop the tofu out of the marinade (and keep it!) and fry until crispy and golden - you will have to turn them over with tongs a few times to make sure they are crispy on all sides.
6. Now, take that marinade (that you didn't throw away!) and add 1 tbsp tahini and the juice of 1/2 lemon. Mix very well to combine. (Hint: if you are down the bottom of your tahini jar and the tahini is a bit dry then you should add some oil to the jar and mix well to make it nice and liquidy again before adding to the dressing - otherwise you will get big lumps of tahini in your dressing which is not ideal).
7. Divide the salad you have mixed evenly between 3 bowls and drizzle 1/3 of the dressing over each bowl. Add the still warm fried tofu and eat it immediately! (Preferably out on the deck with a glass of wine).
Serves 3 (or two people with slightly bigger serves)