Call it soup-and-stew fatigue. When it’s this cold out, for this long, my taste starts to run in a counterintuitive direction, and I crave the style of foods that are more appropriate, or at least common, in the spring and summer.
Cravings can sometimes be pretty specific, and recently I found myself being consumed by thoughts of tofu salad. Not a salad that includes tofu, but a mashed-up, mayonnaise-y thing I could keep in the fridge and spread on toast for a day or two as a break from all the roasting and braising. I had all the makings at home, including the star ingredient: a wonderful smoked tofu made by Neopol Savory Smokery of Baltimore that I figured would bring a fresh spark to an old idea.
The other ingredients I started tossing in reflect a mostly Asian aesthetic — scallions, sesame seeds, rice vinegar — but then I veered off that track by adding smoked paprika and dried apricots. With one taste, I knew this mash-up had enough going on that perhaps something blander (and lighter) should be the vehicle.
I put the loaf of multigrain bread back in the freezer and reached for the hearts of romaine. Who says you can’t have lettuce cups in February?