Many years ago I was vegan. And I was rather fond of my tofu. Today I am rather fond of my bacon. And steak. And eggs. And all manner of cheeses.
Still, every now and again it’s worth revisiting the culinary paths we walked before. I may no longer abstain from things meat and dairy, but that doesn’t mean I must in turn abstain from tofu. It is, after all, a healthy, delicious, affordable and versatile protein that — thanks to being naturally lighter than meats and seafood — is particularly good in summer.
Back in the day, I loved cutting tofu into cubes, then tossing them with chilled soba noodles and spicy peanut sauce. It was a robust yet cool salad for a warm day. And lately I’ve found myself craving it.
But I decided to play around with the concept a bit. I wanted more flavor. And I wanted to make use of the grill to get it. The results were terrific.
One caution. It is important to search out tofu that is already smoked and baked. Not only is the flavor of this style of tofu (widely available in the produce/refrigerated Asian section at mainstream grocers) better, but the texture is superior as well. It has almost a cheddar cheeselike density. Conventional tofu is watery and flavorless, and can be fussy to grill.
If you need a shortcut for this recipe, you could use bottled peanut sauce, but the flavor won’t be nearly as good. It would be better to make the sauce ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator, where it will keep (tightly covered) for several days.