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Hot & Cold Asian Salad

This salad has all the temperatures, flavors, and textures to keep you coming back for more!

Hot & Cold Asian Salad

Even though this recipe is vegan and gluten-free, it is one of the most satisfying, filling, and downright scrumptious concoctions there is. I first encountered a version of this salad many years ago on a culinary TV shoot with Chef Akasha Richmond. I fell in love with everything about it from the sweet and tangy miso dressing made with non-dairy milk to the interplay of textures and temperatures: cold cabbage, crisp carrots and daikon, crunchy cashews, hot bites of tender tofu paired with Tamari-glazed whole shiitakes and asparagus spears. I know this salad will enchant and seduce you at first bite, just as it did for me!

Equipment: cutting board; chef’s knife; blender or large mixing bowl and whisk; mixing bowls; dry and wet measuring cups; measuring spoons; wok or nonstick sauté pan; wooden spoon; tongs

Miso Dressing Ingredients:

½ cup almond or soy milk (plain, unsweetened)

¼ cup vegetable oil

¼ cup toasted sesame oil

¼ cup seasoned rice vinegar 1-inch piece peeled ginger, chopped

2 tablespoons white miso

1 tablespoon honey

kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste (optional)

Cold Salad Ingredients:

1 head of Savoy (or Napa) cabbage (outer leaves removed), chiffonade 2 large carrots, peeled and julienne

½ daikon (Japanese radish), peeled and julienne

Hot Stir-fry Ingredients:

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 garlic clove, finely minced 1-inch piece of ginger, finely minced 4 scallions, thinly sliced

1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces 1 pound fresh Shiitake, stems removed

2 cups extra firm tofu, ½-inch cubes

2-3 tablespoons Tamari (or regular soy sauce) 1-2 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

Garnish Ingredients:

1 cup roasted cashews (salted or unsalted per preference) black & white sesame seeds for garnish (optional)

1 scallion, thinly sliced on bias (optional)

ILOC tip: remove and discard the first layer of outer, possibly wilted leaves from the cabbage to reveal the crisp layers within. Stack three leaves at a time and roll tightly crosswise to slice into the thin strips, chiffonade.

1. First, prepare the salad dressing. Place all of the ingredients in a blender and bend until smooth and creamy (alternatively whisk in a large bowl until emulsified). Taste to see if you want to season with salt and pepper, and set aside.

"While you can make this dressing in a bowl, preparing it in a blender is far superior because it produces a deceptively creamy and luscious sauce that you can use on everything from salad and as a dip for crudités, to a sauce for seared salmon or fried tofu."

2. To prepare the cold salad, in a large mixing bowl combine the chiffonade cabbage with the julienne carrots and radish. Toss well to combine and set aside.

"If you cannot find daikon, use jicama instead for similar texture and a more mild but somewhat comparable flavor."

3. To prepare the hot stir-fry, heat a wok over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the vegetable oil and swirl to coat the wok. Add the garlic and ginger and stir-fry for one minute, until softened and fragrant (lower the heat to medium if necessary so as not to burn the aromatics). Add the scallion and stir-fry for 30 seconds.

4. Add the mushrooms and asparagus and stir-fry for 1-2 minutes. Add in the tofu and stir-fry for one minute before adding the Tamari and sesame oil. Stir fry for 1-2 minutes longer, until the asparagus is bright green and tender. Set aside.

5. Drizzle half a cup of the salad dressing over the cabbage mixture and toss well to coat. Add more dressing, ¼ cup at a time, until the desired consistency is reached.

"Dressing is basically seasoning for your salad. Therefore, a salad should be evenly dressed, with every bite featuring the the flavor of the dressing. But a salad should not be soggy or wet, heavy and weighed down by its dressing. It's all about technique, not torture."

6. Distribute the cabbage salad evenly amongst four plates. Top each salad with an equally amount of the stir-fry. Sprinkle with cashews, and sesame seeds and scallions if using. Serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings.

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