Shiitakes Done Right

Posted February 07, 2007

I was in the Test Kitchen yesterday with one of our extraordinary cooks, Marcia Kiesel, sampling a new striped bass recipe from Jean-Georges Vongerichten. We were admiring the plump shiitakes she'd found at the Amish Market on 9th Avenue to go with the fish. So often shiitakes are thin and, when sliced even thinner, become unrecognizable—resembling noodles more than funghi. But these shiitakes were fat like portobellos, and Marcia had cut them into hearty chunks so they almost resembled button mushrooms. Their sour-edged sweetness stood out even against the strong poaching sauce and the surprisingly flavorful fish. After work, I went to Citarella and splurged on some fresh striped sea bass; Marcia said she might be able to share some of the surplus shiitakes with me this afternoon. Because it’s so cold outside, I’m just going to cook the 'shrooms and fish in a hot oven, with some polenta on the side. Look for the bass recipe in our May issue; in the meantime, Food & Wine recipes for striped bass and shiitake mushrooms can be found here and here.

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