Summer has become the season of declarations. We declare a drink of the summer. (My bet’s on the spaghett, or perhaps the Hugo spritz.) We declare a song of the summer. (Nicki Minaj, Ice Spice and Aqua on “Barbie World” will power me through Labor Day.) We declare a vibe of the summer. (“Tomato Girl Summer” are words that should not make sense together, but they do.)
In that spirit, I’m on the quest for my recipe of the summer. There are a few criteria: It has to be easy enough to toss together when I’m drained from an afternoon of sun; it has to pack enough protein to sustain me through the next activity on my summer bucket list; and it has to evoke the fresh vibrancy of the best garden or farmers’ market.
Those are a lot of boxes to check. But my sights are set on a few tofu recipes that look and taste like July.
The first is a new grilled tofu salad from Kay Chun, the components for which are exceptionally simple to prepare. There are sturdy, smoky planks of grilled zucchini and tofu. There is a four-ingredient lemon-miso vinaigrette. And there is a bed of tangled, delicate herbs and crunchy raw snap peas. I’d love to grill a bunch of tofu and zucchini ahead to keep chilled in the fridge, ready at a moment’s notice.
I’m also eyeing these grilled tofu tacos, also from Kay. The teaspoon of Old Bay seasoning in the chipotle-based marinade screams of summer, especially to this former D.C. resident. The marinating is quick work — 15 minutes tops — and you can use that time to shred some cabbage, slice an avocado and dice up a little pico de gallo for topping.
Finally, we have the requisite zero-cooking candidate. Hetty McKinnon’s silken tofu with spicy soy dressing is exactly what it sounds like: cubes of cooling, wiggly tofu doused in a sauce that’s punchy with chile oil and rice vinegar. Its potential to be my recipe of the summer lies in all of the ways you can customize it. Eat it with whatever leafy greens or herbs you picked up at the market — a base of cucumber ribbons, basil, mint and shiso is my ideal combination.
Silken Tofu With Spicy Soy Dressing
View this recipe.
One More Thing!
I’d like to briefly circle back to contenders for drink of the summer. While the shifting winds of the zeitgeist tend to blow in the most Instagrammable direction, I can’t help but root for tinto de verano, a beloved Spanish cocktail whose name translates to “summer red wine.”
As Rebekah Peppler wrote this week, it’s just not summer without one. The drink is primed for poolside sipping and a breeze to put together. Across Spain (and in my own home), red wine is diluted with a citrusy soda like La Casera or 7Up.
But Rebekah’s modern interpretation includes a bit of vermouth for its herbal notes, as well as a homemade lemon-lime syrup, to be cut with soda water when the drink is assembled. It all makes for bright, fizzy, easy drinking — just what you want as temperatures soar.
Thanks for reading, and see you next week!