On Sunday, we planned to go for a bush walk with some friends in the Royal National Park. On Saturday afternoon, I went to the shops and bought some supplies for sandwiches and snacks, and, as I was walking back home with loaded bags, I had a big re-think about the whole bush walk idea. After all, it is the World Cup at the moment and our household is fully immersed in football fever. In the southern hemisphere, we are severely disadvantaged in our viewing times for global sporting events, which make extreme sleep deprivation a necessity if you want to watch any matches in real time. This year for Brazil, some of the kick off times are relatively civilised: it’s true the 2am starts are absolute killers but the 6am, and particularly the 8am times, are totally doable. Here I was contemplating missing the big Italy–England showdown because of an 8am kick off on a Sunday morning! In Australia, World Cup viewing doesn’t get any better than this. Obviously, we reneged on the bush walk and watched England v Italy, which was fortunate because it was an absolute cracker of a match.
I had planned to make this tofu salad for sandwiches for our bush walk but, instead, I made a half batch of this for lunches during the week. This recipe is originally from the Greens Cookbook and has been a standard at their restaurant since opening. I love tofu but this recipe breaks all my rules for using tofu, because I usually don’t like tofu when it’s used in non-traditional ways. (That old vegan idea of scrambled tofu just feels wrong to me). Somehow, breaking my tofu rules for this spread seems to work, making a light, moist and fresh tasting sandwich. The pickled celery is not in the original recipe but I’ve nicked that from Smitten Kitchen‘s awesome egg salad. I’ve noticed that pickled celery is popping up in sandwiches all over Sydney at the moment so it’s also in keeping with our local foodie zeitgeist. This quick celery pickle keeps for a least a week in the refrigerator so it’s a good way of using up excess celery and it makes a fantastic addition to all kinds of salads and sandwich spreads.
Tofu salad sandwich spread
Adapted from Tassajara Cookbook: Lunches, picnics and appetizers by Karla Olivera
- 500 grams (18 ounces) firm tofu
- 5 tablespoons of finely minced red bell pepper
- 5 tablespoons of finely diced fresh or pickled celery (see below for pickled celery recipe)
- 4 tablespoons finely diced carrot
- 2 tablespoons finely minced herbs (parsley, marjoram and savory)
- ½ cup of mayonnaise or 5 tablespoons of sesame oil
- 1½ tablespoons of Dijon mustard (I prefer to use the coarse Dijon)
- 1 teaspoon of red wine or sherry vinegar
- salt and pepper
- Rinse tofu in cold water and then cut into slices and dry well in a tea towel or with paper towels before crumbling into a bowl.
- Add vegetables, pickled celery, herbs, mayonnaise or sesame oil, Dijon mustard and vinegar. Mix together and season with salt, pepper and tamari.
- Let sit for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavours to permeate into the tofu.
- ¼ cup of white wine vinegar
- ¼ cup water
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- 2 teaspoons castor sugar
- 2 sticks of celery chopped very finely
- Mix vinegar, water, sugar and salt in a jar, screw on lid and shake until sugar and salt are dissolved.
- Add celery and let sit for at least an hour, preferably overnight.
Keeps for at least a week in the fridge.