Caprese salad’s one of those dishes that’s done so often, and usually so indifferently, that it’s easy to forget how fantastic the real thing, with mozzarella di bufala and fresh, ripe tomatoes, can be. This version substitutes silken tofu for the mozzarella, and while it’s not the same as making it with cheese, the tofu does the same job of providing a creamy counterpoint to the acid from the tomatoes and vinegar. And if you have really terrific tomatoes (like from your garden), the tofu’s great because it just gets out of the way and sort of amplifies the tomatoes’ own flavor. You’ll love this tofu caprese salad!
This Tomato and Silken Tofu Caprese Salad recipe is a take on a recipe in David Chang’s Momofuku cookbook for cherry tomatoes and silken tofu in a soy vinaigrette with shiso leaves. It’s Chang’s version of a caprese salad, and it’s delicious (and you can see photos of it being made here). Shiso’s not the easiest thing to find in most supermarkets, though, so I switched it back to a more traditional caprese-style salad.
The important thing here is the quality of your tomatoes – if they’re not great, the tofu caprese salad won’t be. Be sure to salt them first thing – you can let them sit for a while (up to 30 minutes), and they’ll only improve in flavor. And you’ll definitely want to serve this with some good bread to soak up all the juices.
Using a sharp knife, slice the tomato into 1/2-inch slices. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and let sit.
Slice the block of tofu into in half, running your knife through the block parallel to the cutting board. Using a 2-inch cookie cutter or small drinking glass, carefully cut out 4 circles from the tofu. (This is all a little tricky - silken tofu's very delicate and kind of a pain to work with, so don't feel like you have to cut circles if it's not working out for you - you can also just slice rectangles off the block. Circles make it look more like mozzarella, but that's pretty much the only advantage.) Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
On plates or a serving platter, layer the slices of tomato and tofu so that they overlap slightly. Sprinkle with the sliced basil, drizzle with the olive oil and vinegar, and add maybe a little sea salt if you want some extra salty crunch on top.