In Japanese and Chinese cuisine, dried shiitake mushrooms are a staple of the pantry. Drying is an age-old preservation technique, increasing shelf life indefinitely. But drying also intensifies the flavor of mushrooms, driving off moisture and leaving precious glutamates intact. Rehydrating unlocks all of these flavors, and best of all, dried mushrooms become meatier than ever before. Here is our take on classic marinated shiitakes—one of the best ways to enjoy these fungi. After rehydrating the mushrooms, we slice them to increase surface area. Simmering the mushrooms in an intense mixture of soy sauce, wine, vinegar, and plenty of the reserved cooking liquid results in ultra-meaty gems of umami goodness. These mushrooms go well with anything, from soups to stews to salads and rice bowls. We serve ours simply, with fresh, crunchy cucumber and fragrant toasted sesame seeds. This dish is perfect with steamed rice as a light lunch, or as a side dish for a bigger feast. You can find dried shiitake mushrooms at any Asian grocery store, usually in bulk.
Marinated Shiitake Mushroom and Cucumber Salad
- 4 cups (about 4 ounces) dried shiitake mushrooms
- 1 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
- 3/4 cup sake or dry white wine
- 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup honey
1 1-inch piece ginger, peeled
- 1 seedless English cucumber, sliced 1/4-inch thick
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice, plus extra for serving
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- For the Mushrooms: Bring 4 cups water to boil in large saucepan. Off heat, add mushrooms, cover, and let hydrate until mushrooms are softened and plump, 15 to 20 minutes. Strain mushrooms in fine-mesh strainer set over bowl; reserve liquid and set aside. Let mushrooms cool slightly, then cut into 1/4-inch slices. Add sliced mushrooms back to now-empty pot. Stir in 2 cups reserved cooking liquid, soy sauce, sake, vinegar, honey, and ginger until combined. Bring mixture to simmer over medium heat, reduce heat to low, and cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms absorb cooking liquid and turn brown, about 30 minutes. Off heat, cover pot and let mushrooms cool to room temperature.
- For the Salad: Toss cucumbers with lemon juice in large bowl. Arrange cucumbers on large plate, then arrange mushrooms over top. Pour 1/2 cup cooking liquid over salad and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Drizzle with lemon juice and olive oil to taste. Serve.
Nutrition facts:5 210 calories 5 grams of protein 36 grams of carbohydrates 3 grams of fiber 16 grams of sugar ( 14 grams of added sugar ) 927 milligrams of sodium 410 milligrams of potassium 3 grams of fat ( 2 grams of monounsaturated fat )
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