Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Shiitake Tacos with Asian Pear Slaw

Shiitake Tacos with Asian Pear Slaw
This was a recipe where, as it was coming together, I was shaking my head and figuring it was never going to work... and wondering how I was ever going to salvage something that I was sure was going to be bland as all get out. Turns out I was completely wrong! It's a little disturbing to find out my cooking Spidey Sense is completely miscalibrated, but I would say that is more than compensated for with the discovery of this simply prepared dish that has surprisingly complex flavors. I got the recipe from The Washington Post, but it's really from Michael Natkin's Herbivoracious... and given that I read his blog regularly you'd think I'd have a little more faith in his recipes. Well what can I say? I didn't think two jalepenos would give it enough heat, and I was skeptical that a dash or two of cumin and cinnamon was going to interesting enough to keep this from being a drab mixed vegetable medley wrapped in corn tortillas. I thought I would need to whip up some sort of salsa or other sauce to top it, but... live and learn... because the roasted jalepenos really did give a respectable amount of heat, and that Asian pear slaw really did brighten the whole thing up and highlight the different flavors and textures involved.

There were only two things that confused me about the recipe. He doesn't say what to do about the bok choy leaves, so I did a chiffonade of them and added them with the rest of the bok choy. I used a regular clad skillet, not a cast iron or non-stick, and a fond developed as I was cooking... so I just deglazed it with a little water. Seemed to work pretty well, but his recipe doesn't really entertain such a thing as a possibility.

I would definitely make this recipe again... and look forward to checking out the cookbook (we have it from the library)... but I think next time I would probably up the Shiitake to bok choy ratio so the mushrooms dominate a bit more. They looked pretty even when I started, but obviously mushrooms cook down and it seemed almost more like a bok choy taco than a Shiitake one. Still very tasty though.