Pressed Tofu Salad

MAKES: 4 to 6 appetizer servings

TIME: 20 minutes, plus 2 hours to marinate

There are two keys to this salad. The first is to buy dry, pressed tofu, which is sold in most Asian food markets and some natural food stores. It’s much firmer than regular tofu and has a dense, chewy texture and deep ivory skin or, if seasoned or precooked a brown skin.

The second is to allow the salad to marinate long enough for the tofu to absorb the flavors of the dressing. That part’s easy, but it does require some planning.

1 pound dry pressed or extra-firm tofu or firm tofu, squeezed (see Preparing Tofu)

2 medium to large carrots, peeled

2 large celery stalks, trimmed

2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 teaspoons Chile Paste, or store-bought chile paste

1/4 cup dark sesame oil

Cut the tofu into 2-inch matchsticks; grate the carrots and celery. Whisk together the liquids.

Toss everything together and marinate for at least 2 hours in the refrigerator. Toss again immediately before serving.