Long time no blog! I’ve been off skating and out of the kitchen for a couple of months, just getting back to things now. In one week I’ll be attending the International Food Blogger’s Conference in Seattle and I’m looking forward to getting a boost of inspiration. I attended last year and it was really fun to meet so many bloggers from around the country. The speakers were high-quality journalists, chefs, and food writers, and this year promises to be as good.
One simple recipe I’ve been wanting to share with you came via Karen Gibson of Soup Addict: mushroom ‘bacon.‘ Karen adapted a Vegetarian BLT from Rodale that included shiitake ‘bacon’ made with mushrooms, olive oil, tamari, and salt.
Like Karen, I’ve made veggie ‘bacon’ out of a variety of things including tempeh (and even coconut) combined with the three major bacon flavors– salt, fat, and smoke. I often steam, then bake, tempeh, and before putting it in the oven I’ll sprinkle it with tamari, sometimes combined with a bit of liquid smoke extract and a few other things (like coriander). I’d never tried giving mushrooms the ‘bacon’ treatment but it works pretty well.
Also like Karen, I tried this recipe with both portobellos and with shiitakes, and the shiitakes really do make a more convincing ‘bacon.’ Not only is the texture ‘meatier’ but the shiitake flavor is complex with lots of umami. Despite that, I find myself using portobellos at least as often since I can pick them up pre-sliced at Trader Joe’s fairly cheaply. The choice is yours. Either way, you’ll have a good little enhancement for a vegetarian main course. I’ve been using my mushroom ‘bacon’ to top veggie burgers, it’s been much appreciated.
- 8 oz. small shiitake or portobello mushrooms
- 3 T olive oil
- 1 tsp. gluten-free tamari
- ½ tsp. liquid smoke flavoring
- pinch salt or smoked salt
- ¼ tsp. smoked paprika
- Clean mushrooms as necesssary (wiping with a cloth towel can work without getting them too soggy). For woody-stemmed mushrooms like shiitake, remove stems, saving them for another purpose like stock, use caps for the recipe. For larger mushrooms, slice caps.
- Mix the rest of the ingredients in a medium bowl. It's not necessary to use all the smoke flavors (the last three ingredients) but use what you have.
- Add the mushrooms to the bowl and mix them into the dressing.
- Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Spread out mushrooms on top.
- Bake for about 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.