Chef Kuniaki Arima has come up with a salad with green broad beans and fluffy tofu that tastes Italian and is just right for a glass of wine.
Arima, whose motto is to make “Italian cuisine of Japan,” has in the past tried replacing cheese with miso and anchovy with salted squid innards. This time he chose tofu instead of ricotta cheese. The key is to drain water well from the tofu.
“Olive oil is the key seasoning. Choose one with flavor,” he says.
Like kelp, cheese contains an "umami" flavor in the form of glutamine acid. When used as a seasoning, grated cheese adds richness to the dishes. Serves four.
200 grams broad beans (sora-mame) without pods
1/2 newly harvested onion (shin-tamanegi)
1 cake “momen” tofu
1/2 tsp grated garlic
2 stems Italian parsley leaves
1/2 tsp salt
30 grams grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1 Tbsp olive oil
Drain water from tofu by sandwiching between towels and placing weight on top. Remove broad beans from pods. Chop onion into 1-cm squares.
Place tofu in bowl and crush with hand. Mix in grated garlic and half of cheese.
Bring water to a boil in pot, add 1 percent salt (10 grams to 1 liter water), add beans. They puff up after two minutes. Cook for another minute until somewhat soft. Add onion and remove both from pot after 30 seconds. Cool on sieve.
Remove skin from beans and chop while still warm. With onion, add to bowl containing tofu.
Sprinkle in salt and mix. Add chopped parsley and mix. Check saltiness and add cheese to taste. Pour in olive oil and mix well.
Estimated time: 45 minutes (30 minutes to prepare, 5 to 15 minutes to finish)
Nutritional information (per serving): kilocalories, 285; sodium content, 1.0 grams; fat content, 9.4 grams