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Author Notes: This salad or stuffed mini peppers is a cool and beautiful combination to serve as a side dish or an appetizer at a summer party or picnic. Baking the tofu first eliminates excess moisture, so the tofu keeps its shape when sliced and tossed. Pickling the mini peppers and edamame adds a spicy and piquant flavor and softens the peppers, which makes it easy to stuff them. Two packages of the Minisweet peppers are needed for the amount of filling you will have from one full portion. I used half a portion for the salad and the other half for the filling and it was just enough for 8 mini peppers. —Kukla
Food52 Review: This bright and refreshing dish is an unexpected but welcome twist on a summer salad. For those who aren't keen on tofu, this is a great introduction. It also demonstrates the versatiltity of edamame, which stands up well to the pickling (a technique I had never thought of using with edamame) and is really the shining ingredient in this dish. The flavors are bold and the dressing would be great on just about anything. —Annie "Smalls"
Serves 4 to 6
For the pickling liquid, salad and stuffing
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon coarse salt
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 3 quarter-sized pieces fresh ginger
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
- 3-4 fresh Thai basil or cilantro sprigs
- 12 ounces package Minisweet peppers (12-13 mini peppers), washed, tops cut off, seeds and membranes discard
- 12 ounces package frozen shelled Edamame, quickly blanched and drained
- 12 ounces organic Firm Tofu, rinsed and drained in a colander for 30 minutes
- 2-3 whole scallions, thinly sliced on a bias
- In a sauce pan combine first 9 ingredients; heat on medium-low, stirring to dissolve salt and sugar. Then simmer on low heat for 5 minutes. Cover and let steep for 20 minutes.
- Place peppers and edamame in separate shallow nonreactive dishes. Strain the pickling liquid through a fine sift and discard the solids. While the pickling is still warm, pour enough to cover over peppers and edamame. Cover and refrigerate for a few hours.
For the dressing
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 3 cloves garlic, finely grated on a microplane
- 2 teaspoons finely grated ginger
- Zest of 1 medium lime
- 2 tablespoons Ponzu Lime sauce plus 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- 2 teaspoons each hoisin sauce and honey
- 1 tablespoon creamy peanut butter
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- To make the dressing: in a medium frying pan, cook sesame seeds in oil over low heat until golden (about 2 minutes). Stir in garlic and ginger, then remove pan from heat. Whisk in lime zest, Ponzu, lime juice, hoisin sauce and honey, peanut butter and red pepper flakes until the dressing is smooth. Cover and cool to room temperature.
- Cut tofu in 1-inch thick slices, and place between paper towels. Gently press out excess water. Sprinkle with about 1/2 teaspoon of salt and set aside. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Place tofu slices on a rack set in shallow rimmed baking pan, and brush all surfaces with vegetable oil. Transfer to the oven and bake for 20 minutes; then cool and cut in ½-inch cubes.
- Drain peppers well, and drain edamame from the pickling liquid.
- To assemble the salad: In a mixing bowl, combine 4-5 mini peppers cut in thin rounds, edamame, scallions and tofu cubes. Gently toss to combine and then add about 2/3 of the dressing. Taste for seasoning and add more dressing if needed.
- To make the filling for peppers (you should have 8 of the mini peppers left): Place all the same ingredients which you used for the salad into food processor, add the dressing and pulse a few times until well combined but still has a slightly coarse texture. Transfer to a mixing bowl, taste for seasoning and then using a pastry bag, fill the peppers.