Cultivated for over 1000 years, this cool weather mushroom is a staple in the Eastern diet. Known for anti-tumor and immune system boosting the meaty shiitake provides many healthy benifits in a gourmet package.
Used for centuries in Chinese and Japanese cuisine, the shiitake is quickly becoming a household mushroom in North America. Dried mushrooms are prefered in some cases, as flavors can be intensified. Rehydrating shiitake mushrooms may take a little longer than with other dried gourmets, soak for 30-45 mins in warm water. The thick, tough stem is often cut off at the base and removed before slicing or cooking.
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon brown sugar
2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/2 cup medium-sliced scallions, white part only
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
18 medium to large fresh or rehydrated shiitake caps, stems removed
1/2 cup cubed fresh pineapple
1/2 large red bell pepper, cored and cut into 1/4 inch slices
1/2 cubed cooked green banana or plantain
1/2 cup firmly packed coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
Combine the soy sauce, brown sugar, vinegar, cayenne pepper, 1/2 cup cold water, and the cornstarch in a small bowl and set aside. Saute the scallions and garlic over medium heat in the olive oil in a large saute pan for 30 seconds. Add the shiitake and continue to saute for 2 minutes. If the shiitake do not give off any liquid, add about 2 tablespoons water. Stir in the pineapple, red pepper, and banana or plaintain. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the cilantro and doy sauce mixture slowly while stirring. Heat until the dish is lightly thickened: add a little more water if too thick. Serve immediately.
Recipe from A Cook’s Book of Mushrooms by Jack Czarnecki.
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