A Quest For Perfect Marinated Shiitake. Take one.

My husband and I are huge fans of Fogo De Chao — a Brazilian steak house.  Among many, many, oh so many reasons we love it so much is their world class salad bar.  Meh, you may say, who cares for leafy goodness when there are cute guys in gaucho costumes carrying amazingly tender juice-dripping cuts of meat on huge skewers?  Well, that’s just the trouble, there is no leafy goodness on Fogo’s buffet.  They will make absolutely sure you are stuffed to the brim before you even look at the meat. Just one look at that salad bar and you’ll be drooling like a rabid dog — mean looking aged cheeses, olives of most exotic varieties, roasted artichokes, tapenadas, twisted little salads, grilled vegetables, eye-popping charcuterie, pickled lima beans, etc. etc.  And somewhere in between those masterpieces of epicurean pleasure lay unassumingly looking marinated shiitake.  And that, my friends, is pure sex on a plate.

Shiitake are simmering in marinade

I am usually pretty good at determining the incoming ingredients, when it comes to tasting foodstuffs, but these shiitake have been puzzling me to no end.  I just don’t know what they are pickling them in.  First comes this smokey punch on top of the shiitake aroma itself, just enough of it to make you an addict from the first bite.  Then comes the bouquet of flavors so well balanced that you can’t distinguish one of them.  It’s a work of perfume art, so subtle, so masterful that I can only sit there awestruck and enjoy the best part — this oyster-like slithery silky texture.  Chills… I am telling you, there are only a few things that made such a lasting impression on my palate.

Mysteriously looking marinade with ginger bits looking like little aliens

Anyway, so since Google my usual channels of research didn’t work this time, I decided to go on a quest for that perfect marinated shiitake.

Blanched Shiitake are now drained and waiting for marinade

This batch is a combination of several recipes I found, heavily modified mostly due to high sugar content.  I am trying to stay away from carbs, so had to cut down substantially, and adjust the tartness accordingly to balance lower sugar.  The mushrooms turned out beautiful; the texture is definitely there, though in my opinion, they could be a bit less sweet, still.  I like the flavors combined, love the ginger and the slightly syrupy feel of the marinade.  And although this is not at all Fogo De Chao’s version, not even in the same direction, I liked the recipe well enough to share here.  This certainly goes on a list of “definite maybe” items.

Shiitake in Asian Style Marinade

  • 1/2 lbs fresh Shiitake, stumps twisted off and discarded
  • 1 -1/2 cups water
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup red vinegar
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 3 whole dry cloves
  • 5 whole dry allspice
  • 1-1/2″ piece of ginger, peeled and halved
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Place Shiitake caps in a saucepan. Pour water in add salt, bring to a boil and cook gently for about 5 minutes.

Drain the water into another saucepan, add remaining ingredients, stir well, bring to a boil. Immerse Shiitake into the marinade, and simmer for about 30 minutes.  Let cool.

Remove cloves and allspice.  Place mushrooms into a jar, add strained marinade. Keep refrigerated.

Shiitake in Asian Style Marinade

Where are you going, little mushroom? Stay a while...

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Categories: Appetizers, Better Than Storebought, Cravables, Quick & Simple

Author:Eat Already!

I am a cooking and writing addict born and raised in a cosmopolitan city on the Black Sea coast. Currently my interests include, but not limited to gardening, traditional nutrition, raw milk, fermentation techniques, books by Sitchin, Weston A. Price ideas, artisan bread making, anything handcraft, and many other, quite random, things. I believe in making things from scratch, in unpretentious dishes, visually un-altered food esthetics. I believe in reporting on daily cooking endeavors, not just on special occasion dishes. I believe everyone should learn how to cook at home because it's a great way to connect with your loved ones without saying too much, with your heritage without becoming an archivist, and with the world without learning languages...

One Comment on “A Quest For Perfect Marinated Shiitake. Take one.”

  1. February 26, 2013 at 4:51 pm #

    Hands down, shiitake is my favorite mushroom. (Well, chanterelles are up there, too.)

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