Shiitake mushrooms are fantastic for several reasons: they are cheap (when the flower variety is chosen), they boast a variety of health benefits and have the ability to produce faux-meaty textures with minimal ingredients and effort. I often use them fresh or dried to produce soups, patés, sushi and gravies, and love their ability to easily impart a unique woodsy flavor into any dish or application. Here I’ve filled some shiitake caps with a blend of mellow miso and brown sugar to create a double dose of umami, then topped it off with some freshly sliced thai chilis and flowering chives to balance everything out and give them a little pop of color.
3 TB sweet white or mellow miso
3 TB vegetable broth
1 TB brown sugar
1 tsp grated ginger
1 tsp grated garlic
1 tsp rice vinegar
8-10 shiitake caps (use the strong and sturdy “flower” variety)
1 thai chili, sliced
sliced chives or scallions, to serve
black and white sesame seeds, to serve
Preheat oven to 400 and line a baking sheet with a silpat. Set aside.
Destem the shiitake caps and rinse well and pat dry. Place them, cap side up, into a saute pan. Fill the pan with enough water to cover the bottom 1 inch. Place a lid over the top and heat for a few minutes to slightly soften them.
Combine the first six ingredients into a bowl. Whisk to combine and set aside.
Remove from the pan and set onto a paper towel to slightly drain. Place the caps, gill-side up, onto the silpat. Spoon the miso mixture into each of the caps. Place into the oven to bake for 30 minutes. The mushrooms are done when the tops are bubbly and slightly golden. Remove from the oven and allow to slightly cool.
Garnish with the chilis, chives and sesame seeds. Allow to cool for a few minutes before serving. These taste best at room temperature.0