Shiitake, maitake, shimeji. The perfect ingredients for an autumn-inspired salad
In Japan, mushrooms are considered the flavor of autumn. This easy to prepare salad is seasoned with salt and citrus to emphasize their complex flavor.
Here I used three types of mushrooms common in Japan – shiitake, maitake and shimeji. If you are struggling in your search for maitake or shimeji, experiment with other varieties. Portobello mushrooms, for example, aren’t common in Japan, but should work equally well in this recipe.
Ingredients (serves 2)
100 g of shiitake mushrooms
100 g of maitake mushrooms
100 g of shimeji mushrooms
1 sheet of deep fried tofu pouch
1-2 of citrus juice (kabosu or sudachi are ideal, but you can use limes, lemons, etc.)
1 pinch of salt
Clean the mushrooms with a brush. Next, cut away the stems of the shiitake mushrooms.
Cut away the roots of maitake and the shimeji. Divide them into a little bunches for grilling.
Next, grill the deep fried tofu pouch in a toaster or on a grill until it becomes brown and crispy on the outside, then slice into strips 4 – 5 centimeters in length and 1 centimeter wide.
Now grill the mushrooms for 3 – 4 minutes on a medium to high heat. Once cooked, slice the shiitake into bite-sized pieces and roughly mix the mushrooms with the deep fried tofu pouches.
Plate the mushrooms and season with a pinch of salt. Serve with a slice or two of a citrus fruit such as kabosu.
This simple dish makes an excellent appetiser but it can just as well be served as a main course.
Naturally, other types of pasta can be used instead of spaghetti, however those cooking the dish in Japan will find it difficult to get their hands on much else (despite an awareness of Italian cuisine, the average Japanese supermarket still only stocks thin spaghetti and macaroni).
Ingredients (serves 2)
- 160g spaghetti
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 clove garlic
- 100 – 150g spinach
- 100-150g mushrooms (use shiitake mushrooms, shimeji mushrooms or eringi mushrooms – 2 kinds would be best)
- 20g butter
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
Boil 1.5l water. Once it’s bubbling add a pinch of salt and then cook the spaghetti according to the instructions on the package. Pour the 2 tablespoons of olive oil into a frying pan and add the minced garlic. Cook it on a low heat.
Wash the spinach and then drain away any excess water. Cut away the roots then slice the remaining leaves into large pieces. Now cut away the stems of the shiitake and cut the remaining mushrooms into slices around 2 to 3 mm thick.
Put the them into the frying pan and sauté them for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the spinach and mix this together with the mushrooms. Next, season the sauce with a pinch of salt and pepper.
Drain the spaghetti, saving 2 to 3 tablespoons of the water. Pour this liquid into the frying pan and mix with the other ingredients.
Now pour the spaghetti into the frying pan and fold the sauce into the pasta. Pour 2 tablespoons of soy sauce into the inner surface of the frying pan and mix into the spaghetti.
Finally, turn off the heat and add the 20g of butter. Allow the butter to melt using the remaining heat and mix the dish together quickly. Test the sauce, and if necessary add a touch more salt. The dish is now ready to serve.