Thursday, November 18, 2010
Momofuku's Soy Pickled Shiitakes
I pickled these mushrooms to go with a feast of sorts we had on Sunday. I needed a big project to kick myself off the couch and back into the kitchen, and since it was decidedly soup weather, it seemed as good a time as any to tackle pho. I used a mash up of Andrea Nguyen's recipe, and the interpretation of it over at Steamy Kitchen. (Aside: any Boston area readers know where I can find yellow rock sugar? I couldn't track it down at the Reliance Market in Union Square.)
The pho broth simmered for a few hours while I pleated dumplings and Adam put the leaf in the table. I whizzed raw shrimp in the food processor - not very pretty, but the shrimp toasts were delicate and crunchy, so it was worth the cleaning (ahem, Adam does the dishes). And then I pickled these mushrooms. They practically sing in your mouth, they are so flavorful and vibrant. I've been eating the leftovers out of the fridge every time I walk by, and I bet they'd be fantastic in a cold noodle salad.
Soy Pickled Shiitakes
Adapted, just barely, from Momofuku
Dried mushrooms at the regular grocery store can be pricey, but if you head to an Asian market you can get a one ounce bag for ninety-nine cents. Just be warned, once you start exploring the aisles you may not be able to stop at just mushrooms.
4 cups (loosely packed) dried shiitake mushrooms - about 3 ounces by weight
1 cup sugar
1 cup soy sauce
1 cup white wine vinegar (or sherry vinegar if you can find it, I couldn't)
1 thumb-sized knobs of ginger, peeled
Re-hydrate the mushrooms in hot water (doesn't have to boil, just really hot) for 15 minutes or so or until the mushrooms are softened. Once the mushrooms are soft, lift them out of the soaking liquid; strain the liquid through cheesecloth or a fine mesh strainer to remove any sand or debris and reserve the liquid. Remove the stems from the mushroom caps and discard. Slice the caps into 1/4 inch wide slices.
Combine the mushrooms with 2 cups of the reserved soaking liquid, sugar, soy sauce, vinegar and ginger in a sauce pan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, then reduce heat and simmer (gently, please) for 30 minutes. Allow the mushrooms to cool in the liquid.
Pack the pickled mushroom slices into a quart size container and add enough of the cooking liquid to cover. They'll keep in the fridge for a month or more, but they're ready to eat now, hooray!