On Rosh Hashanah, tradition suggests we eat apples dipped in honey for a sweet new year, and a “new fruit” to celebrate the season — often a pomegranate, which is apocryphally claimed to have 613 seeds, the same as the number of mitzvot. This recipe combines all of these elements into a hearty salad that could easily be a meal in itself.
The tofu I call for in this recipe is the pressed type. It is very dense and firm. You can find prepackaged versions of it at natural foods stores, often pre-flavored with soy sauce. If you live in Seattle, it is worth a trip to Northwest Tofu on Jackson Street for a fresher, better-textured version.
This tofu has had so much of the moisture removed that it browns really quickly and easily. It reminds me of grilled halloumi cheese, which I think would also be excellent in this dish.
Keep the salad dressing in mind for everyday green salads as well. You can make a double batch and it will keep in the refrigerator for a few days.
Pan-Seared Pressed Tofu with Apples and Champagne Vinaigrette
Vegetarian and vegan
Serves two as a light lunch or four as a side dish
For the dressing:
2 Tbs. champagne vinegar
1 Tbs. honey
3 tsp. minced shallot
Leaves from 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 tsp. Kosher salt
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
In a small bowl, stir together the vinegar, shallot, thyme and salt. Allow to stand for 10 minutes. Drizzle in the olive oil while whisking to emulsify. Taste and adjust seasoning. Reserve.
2 Tbs. vegetable oil
9 oz. pressed tofu (the kind that is completely firm and generally already brown with some soy sauce on the outside) cut into 1-inch cubes
1 large or 2 medium crisp, sweet apples, cored and cut into 16 slices each (Braeburns work well)
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
Freshly ground black pepper
Flaky sea salt (Maldon is ideal)
Place a large skillet over high heat. Add the oil, and when it is shimmering, add the tofu in a single layer. Cook until well browned on one side, then flip and cook the other side. Remove to a medium bowl with a slotted spoon.
Pour the dressing over the tofu and toss. Add the apples and pomegranate seeds and toss again. Taste and adjust seasoning. Divide among serving bowls and finish with generous amounts of black pepper and flaky salt.