This tofu Niçoise salad is a take on the traditional French tuna version, using Cauldron* Organic Original Tofu, marinated in a blend of seaweed, capers and dill.
*This post is commissioned by Cauldron Foods
I can’t think about a salad Niçoise without thinking about my Dad. Not that he ever cooked one for me himself, but I always remember my Mum telling us a good Dad – Niçoise story. Once on holiday together in the South of France he had proudly ordered a ‘Nick-oise’ salad, having no idea how to really pronounce it.
Some years later, after my Dad had passed away I visited the same area with Mum, we laughed about the story, and also went in search of the cafe where they’d had the salad. Not only did it have a funny story attached to it, but the salad had, I gather tasted rather good, especially accompanied by a crisp cold glass of white wine and a stunning view of the French Riviera. We searched for the modest beach shack in Èze Sur Mere, but it was no longer there. Instead we stopped and had a cold glass of wine and admired that same view from a cafe a touch more upmarket. Lovely memories.
Anyway, so back to this tofu Niçoise salad. Yeah, I’m making it today with tofu not tuna. I love tuna, tinned, fresh or otherwise, but when Cauldron Foods asked me to create a recipe using their Organic Original Tofu, I thought it would work well in this well-loved salad. The salad is a simple dish, but you will need a gazillion pots and pans in your kitchen to cook the potatoes, green beans, eggs and griddle the tofu separately. I think a kitchen porter would come in handy sometimes.
This is the first time I’ve shared a tofu recipe on the blog, and I won’t lie that its true I’ve ignored it as an ingredient until now. Since I’ve always eaten meat and fish (though much less these days), I guess I’ve never seen the need, and basically didn’t know how to get the best flavour out of it. My experiences of tasting bits of tofu floating in ramen and the like never really did the bean curd any flavours in my mind, and then I’ve always been cautious about consuming too much soy. However with the everything in moderation in mind, and knowing that soy can be a good source of plant based protein, I attacked the challenge with my usual adventurous vigour.
Cauldron actually also sent me their Sweet Ginger Tofu to try, which I tried first, opting to thickly slice it and cook on my griddle pan. I enjoyed the texture SO much more this way, enjoying the flavour of the firmer tofu and the crispy edge from frying it. So, I decided to also do this with my original tofu. This tofu is best pressed for 10 minutes, then marinated for around 30 minutes. Happily tofu takes on what ever flavours you marinade it in. If you’re not sure of this pressing process all instructions on how to do so are on the Cauldron packet.
In the past I’ve made a sunflower seed ‘tuna’ for a vegan afternoon tea using a recipe from Sarah Britton’s 2015 My New Roots cookbook, and thought adapting this for a marinade would be a marvellous idea. Seaweed, capers and dill do a great job at bringing together the ‘fishy’ flavours, I added in some tamari for umami.
- 1 pack of Cauldron Organic Original Tofu (396g)
- 1 nori sheet finely chopped
- Handful fresh dill
- 2 spring onions, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons capers
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon honey or maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon tamari
- 1 teaspoon salt
- pinch ground black pepper
- 1 romaine lettuce, roughly torn into small pieces
- 160g cooked green beans
- 2 x soft boil 7 minute eggs
- 6 new potatoes, scrubbed cleaned, boiled and halved
- handful cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
- 1 tablespoon capers
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon honey
- Salt and pepper to taste
- First, drain your tofu, pat it dry with kitchen towel, and then place it under a plate and put a heavy weight on top. Leave it for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile make up your marinade. In a small food processor blend together the nori, dill, spring onions, capers, olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, honey, tamari, salt and pepper till chopped into small pieces and well combined.
- When the 10 minute pressing time is up, slice the tofu into 8-9 slices 8mm thick, and again into triangles, place them in a large oven dish, and then pour over the marinade rubbing it in well to both sides. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile prepare the rest of your salad - cook the potatoes, soft boil and peel your egg, blanch and shock the beans in ice cold water, chop your lettuce and tomatoes and whisk together your dressing.
- When the 30 minutes marinating time is up pre-heat a cast iron griddle pan to a medium heat with a tablespoon of olive oil, brush any thick pieces of marinade off the tofu (or else it burns). and add to the pan. Cook for 3 minutes on each side until all is cooked
- Layer up your salad with the lettuce on the bottom, add the green beans, halved tomatoes, halved potatoes, halved gooey egg, scatter over the capers and drizzle over the dressing. Top with your cooked tofu and dollop over any remaining marinade.
*Disclaimer: This post and recipe was commissioned by Cauldron. Cauldron products can be bought in all UK leading supermarkets. Thank you for supporting the brands who help make it possible for me to continue developing and sharing recipes on Natural Kitchen Adventures. 2