purple asparagus and tofu in a radicchio heart

The bed of radicchio looks like either a heart or floppy ears.  Both – ears and hearts – are sensitive, intricate organs with many channels, just like love.   Asparagus was touted as an aphrodisiac in 15th and 16th century Arabic and Indian writings: consider this dish another valentine from me to you, dear viewers.


serves 4


4 large radicchio leaves

one bunch purple asparagus

about 5 oz firm tofu

1 Tablespoon sesame oil

1 lemon

pinch sea salt

Process Wash the radicchio leaves well and dry. Set aside.  Peel the tough outer skin from each asparagus spear.


Wash them well.  In the meantime cut the tofu into oblong strips (about one-half-inch thick).  Heat a cast iron or stainless steel skillet for about 30 seconds; add the sesame oil and let it heat up for about 20 seconds. Then add the tofu strips to the pan.  Cook them on each side until they are a golden brown;


remove from pan and dredge on brown paper bag to remove excess oil. Use a serrated knife to cut it into half-inch-squares and set aside.


Fill a large stainless steel skillet about three-quarters to the top with water.  Add a pinch of salt and bring to a roiling boil. Drop in the asparagus and when they float to the top and turn more intense shades of green (leaves/stems) and purple (flowers), remove them with a wire mesh skimmer.


Let them cool and then chop them into half-inch-thick pieces.


In a bowl, toss the diced asparagus with the tofu squares.  Squeeze the lemon and pour on top.


Carefully lay each radicchio “heart” on a separate plate.  Fill the cavity with the asparagus and tofu mixture


and serve.

©Nancy Wolfson-Moche 2014