Once again, I’d fooled around too long reading about food and it’d gotten too late to cook any food! Or maybe I wasn’t reading but enjoying some time with my husband or working in the yard. Whatever the reason, dinnertime on Saturday came, and I was totally unprepared for it.
But at least there was some food in the house. D. had grabbed asparagus at the store when he saw it was on sale, and I still had half a pound of tofu left over from making Wednesday night’s Yin & Yang Tofu. And we always have pasta in the pantry, so I set a large pot of water on to boil while I pondered the possibilities. I decided to use our favorite asparagus recipe and just extend it to include tofu and to serve the whole thing over buckwheat somen, one of the fastest cooking pastas. The whole thing came together in under 30 minutes (including photography!)
Somen with Tofu and Asparagus in a Chinese Dressing
(the name takes longer to say than the dish does to cook)
4 tbsp soy sauce, divided
2 tsp. dark sesame oil, divided
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. mirin
2 tsp. red wine vinegar
1 garlic clove, minced
8 ounces extra firm tofu, cut into cubes (or rectangles)
1 pound asparagus, ends trimmed, sliced into 1-inch pieces
8 ounces buckwheat somen or soba noodles
First off, don’t throw anything away in this recipe! You’re going to re-use the marinade as well as the asparagus cooking water.
Place a large pot of water on to boil. In a large bowl, mix together 2 tbsp. soy sauce and 1 tsp. sesame oil. Add the tofu and marinate as you heat a non-stick skillet lightly coated with oil or pan spray.
Trim and chop the asparagus. When the skillet is hot, lift the tofu out of the marinade with a slotted spoon and put it in the skillet. Cook, turning, until brown on all sides.
While the tofu is cooking, add 1 tbsp. soy sauce plus the sugar, mirin, red wine vinegar, and minced garlic to the marinade. When the tofu is done, add it to the marinade in the bowl, stir it, and set it aside.
By now the water should be boiling. Add the asparagus and cover. Cook for 2 minutes. Remove asparagus with a slotted spoon and toss it together with the tofu and marinade.
Return the water to a boil, add salt (optional), and add the somen. Cook until pasta is tender, about 4 minutes. Drain it, return it to the pan, and toss it with 1 tablespoon of soy sauce and 1 tsp. of sesame oil. Serve immediately with asparagus and tofu mixture on top. Serves 3, if one of the 3 is small.
This was absolutely delicious and kid-friendly. The asparagus was tender yet still crisp, and the tofu was surprisingly flavorful for having marinated such a short time. Unfortunately, this recipe does not make a lot, so I recommend doubling it or serving it with some side dishes if you’ve got more than two hungry people to feed.