The Daily Spud

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Bringing Home The Shiitake

You: So, what’s for breakfast, then?
Me: Bacon & eggs.

You: Ooh, bacon & eggs, me favourite. Rashers ahoy!
Me: Erm… it’s not quite your usual bacon & eggs.

You: (suspiciously) Uh, how so?
Me: (sheepishly) Well, for a start, there’s no bacon…

You: No bacon? Well feck that for a game of cowboys(*), I’m off for a breakfast roll

* for the uninitiated, this phrase translates roughly as ‘bugger it’

To be fair, you would be well within your rights to storm off, but perhaps you should have a looksee at what you’re missing first:

Frittata stack

Baconesque Eggs
a.k.a.
When The Shiitake Hit The Pan

Though it may not have bacon, this dish has crisped, smoky shiitake mushrooms and much else to recommend it, so you might care to reconsider and stick around for breakfast, while I explain all.

It came about simply enough when I was asked by Natasha from Five Star Foodie to participate in her latest five star makeover series, devising gourmet, creative twists on familiar food themes. First up was the aforementioned bacon and eggs, and, given that I’m not big on bacon, I was a bit stumped as to what kind of makeover to do.

Cue much scratching of head, followed by a thorough scouring of the interweb and the discovery of something called shiitake “bacon”. The blog post I found described crisped shiitake mushrooms, with their strong, meaty flavour, as an alternative to our most familiar of breakfast meats. Worth a shot, I thought. I tried it and was hooked. Throw in some smoked paprika, and I figured I had something which could play a kind of smoky bacon role.

As for the eggs, the use of shiitake seem to lead the flavours in an Asian direction. The result was a gingery frittata, topped with crispy shiitake, accompanied by a pile of Asian greens and a generous squirt of sriracha. True to form, I could not resist including a spud or two, so the whole thing perched grandly on a potato farl, and, with that, the makeover was over and breakfast, finally, was had. All that remained was for me to loosen my belt by a notch or two, and get ready for lots more egg and baconry when Natasha and Lazaro host round-ups of all the makeover dishes on their blogs this Friday 25th.

Gingered Frittata with Shiitake “Bacon”

Frittata stack

Despite the fancy presentation (well, fancy for me, at any rate), this isn’t a complicated dish. I did, for presentation purposes, cook portions of the egg in individual egg rings, but you can equally (and more easily) cook the frittata as a whole and slice into wedges afterward. It’s served with some quickly stir-fried asian greens and, because I am who I am, some potato farls, but you could equally serve on English muffins or crusty bread.

For the eggs:

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp fish sauce (optional)
  • Peanut oil or other vegetable oil for frying
  • 8 spring onions, white and green parts finely sliced
  • pinch salt
  • 2 small cloves garlic
  • 2 tsp finely chopped root ginger
  • approx. 25g shiitake “bacon” (see below), roughly chopped

For the greens:

  • Peanut oil or other vegetable oil for frying
  • 300g pak choi, stalks & leaves sliced into approx 0.5cm strips (or substitute young spinach)
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil

To serve:

  • Potato farls (recipe here, but substitute 1 tsp smoked paprika for the cumin + cayenne) or use english muffins or some crusty bread
  • Sriracha or other chilli-garlic sauce

You’ll also need:

  • A small frying pan, around 20cm diameter, for the eggs and a larger frying pan (or a wok) for the greens.

The Steps:

  • If serving with potato farls, keep them warm in a low oven while you cook the eggs and greens.
  • Beat the eggs together with the fish sauce and a splash of water.
  • Place the small frying pan over a medium heat. When hot, add a splash of oil. Add the spring onions and a pinch of salt. Stir and fry for about 5 minutes until softened and the white part of the onions have turned translucent.
  • Add the garlic and ginger and stir and fry for another minute or so.
  • Add the contents of the pan to the beaten egg and stir to mix, then return the entire mixture to the pan. Cook for several minutes, until the egg has mostly set and just a small amount of liquid egg remains on top. Sprinkle over the shiitake mushrooms and place the pan under a hot grill (broiler) for a minute or so to allow the top to set.
  • Remove the frittata to a plate, cover with tin foil and keep warm in a low oven.
  • Place your large frying pan over a medium-high heat. When hot add a swirl of oil. Add the sliced pak choi and the soy sauce. Stir and fry for about a minute or so, until the greens have wilted. Remove from the heat and drizzle over the toasted sesame oil.
  • To serve, top potato farls (or split, toasted English muffins or some crusty bread) with the greens, then the eggs and anoint with sriracha or another chili sauce of your choice.

The Variations:

  • Clearly, you can use real smoky bacon here if you like, I won’t mind.

The Results:

  • An eggy, faux-bacony breakfast or brunch for 2

Shiitake “Bacon”

Shiitake bacon

This is adapted from a recipe found over at La Phemme Phoodie. The original calls for fresh shiitake mushrooms but I started with the dried version, because that’s what I had. I added some soy sauce to the soaking liquid and then, for roasting, tossed them in some oil and smoked paprika. It creates something a little reminiscent of crispy, smoky bacon, and which, in any case, works as a tasty addition to salads, sandwiches or eggs, as above.

You can easily double, triple or quadruple the amounts below as you see fit – you’ll need about half of the amount specified below for the frittata. Also, if starting with fresh mushrooms, you’ll probably need around 150g of those in place of 50g dried, and just add a little salt when tossing with the oil and smoked paprika.

You’ll need:

  • 50g dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 3 tblsp soy sauce (I used Kikkoman)
  • 2 tsp peanut oil or olive oil
  • 0.5 tsp hot smoked paprika

You’ll also need:

  • A baking tray – one that’s around 20cm x 30cm should do the trick. Line the tray with baking parchment if you want to save on washing up.

The Steps:

  • Rinse the dried shiitake mushrooms to remove any dust. Add them to a bowl with about 375ml cold water and the soy sauce. Leave to soak for several hours or overnight in the fridge, until fully softened. Alternatively, use lukewarm water and soak for at least an hour.
  • When the mushrooms have finished soaking and you’re ready to roast, preheat the oven to 160C.
  • Remove the mushrooms from the bowl and squeeze gently to remove excess liquid. Keep the soaking liquid to use as vegetable stock.
  • Remove and discard the mushroom stalks and slice the caps into strips appox 1cm wide. Toss the strips in the oil and smoked paprika and spread on the baking tray.
  • Roast the mushrooms until they are crisped to your liking. Ovens vary, so this may take 35-45 minutes or more. Start checking once they’ve been in for a half and hour to see if they are done enough for you (I like them to retain a little bit of moisture, so that you get some crispiness and some chewiness).

The Variations:

  • Omit the smoked paprika if you like.

The Results:

  • Yields around 50g crisped shiitake mushrooms.

34 Comments

  1. What a fun recipe! I love the twist of making the crisped shitakes like bacon. I use shitakes a bunch, but have never tried crisping them. I love the eggs on the potato farls, and will have to try making those sometime. I’ve really enjoyed reading your posts. Cheers!

  2. Daily Spud

    Friday, February 25, 2011 at 11:16 am

    Jennifer: Thank you! Do try crisping up some shiitakes sometime and see what you think. Meanwhile, I might just have to try them in your bacon souffle… :)

    Rufus: you like, then, I take it ? :D

  3. Oh wow *looks over at my sad eggs and pitta bread breakfast*. I want, I WANT!! <–the photo has left me an inarticulate fool….

  4. Daily Spud

    Friday, February 25, 2011 at 11:54 am

    Actually, Clare, having made this the other day, I’m more than a little sad myself that I didn’t have this for breakfast again this morning. Think I should remedy that situation, stat!

  5. That is true creativity! Gorgeous! I’m pretty sure this bacon lover wouldn’t even miss it in this. I’ve learned a lot of words traveling to other places, but I have to say feck is my favorite slang. :) We picked it up in Ireland with my husbands coworkers.

  6. Daily Spud

    Friday, February 25, 2011 at 12:08 pm

    Thanks Lori! Feck is indeed one of the quintessential Irish swear words :)

  7. I am so impressed with what can be done without meat if you put your mind to it. The colors are breathtaking and I love the dish.. so many good spicy things in there (Dr Lostpast swears I would put hot sauce on ice cream if I could). Nice to stop by… it was an awesome challenge!

  8. Daily Spud

    Friday, February 25, 2011 at 1:14 pm

    Hi Deana! Thank you so much (and I know how you feel about hot sauce :) ) – lovely of you to stop by and a pleasure to discover your blog. Looking forward to many more makeovers!

  9. That looks just fab Spud. Can’t wait to try that. Well Done. Photo superb.

  10. Daily Spud

    Friday, February 25, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    Thanks Ange. Doesn’t taste too bad either!

  11. HOLY. MOLY.

    Every time, Aoife. EVERY TIME I visit this blog I faint with overwhelming food-envy. You are a GENIUS.

    *faints*

  12. Wowza! I predict lots of mushroomy bacon in my future. And a mammoth batch of those potato farls.

  13. Daily Spud

    Friday, February 25, 2011 at 3:54 pm

    Aoife: ambulance on the way, with a side order of mushroomy eggs!

    Catherine: proper order too :)

  14. Love the idea of using Shitake instead of bacon. It’s meaty texture and flavor adds such a hearty element that I can’t imagine one missing the bacon in this breakfast! brilliant creation!

  15. Thrilled that you found me and put a brilliant twist on the bacon. I love the idea of adding smoked paprika. Your pics are gorgeous. I’m also equally excited to see that you are from Ireland. I was just there for the first time in August and fell in love with everyone and everything. Can’t wait to go back!

  16. Funny, entertaining, yummy, colorful, and so in keeping with the spirit of the challenge. I think I got away easy, but this is genius.

  17. Wow–love this! Shiitake bacon will definitely find itself in my kitchen. How fun!

  18. Asha: Thank you! It’s definitely got a heartiness to it and plenty of flavour, so meat lovers shouldn’t feel like they’re missing out too much :)

    La Phemme Phoodie: I was so happy to happen across your post in the first place – am now officially in love with shiitake bacon! Equally delighted to hear that you loved Ireland – next time, look me up :)

    Angela: aw shucks, I’m tearing up – thank you so much for the kind words :)

    Debi: It’s definitely worth a try – even if you just make shiitake bacon to add to sandwiches or a salad; I know I’ll be doing exactly that on a regular basis!

  19. Wow, am I glad I discovered your blog! Shiitake bacon is absolutely brilliant! Looks like a delicious dish and I love the Asian flavors in it.

  20. Daily Spud

    Sunday, February 27, 2011 at 10:41 am

    Hey Faith, lovely to have you stop by and I can confirm that it is a dish worth smacking your lips for :)

  21. What genius, I may not faint, but am swooning. That bacon and eggs makeover sets the standards high. You have to be careful as you do not want to discourage anyone. Just yummy looking, a new favorite I am sure!

  22. im with you all the way. not into bacon so i did something else. looooove the mushrooms. great substitute. the dish reminds me of the Mexican sope… so delicious! Nice to meet you via the event!

  23. I am so glad I didn’t storm off! GREG

  24. Kudos to you for the most vibrant dish in the make-over. I bet it tasted awesome. Love shiitake!
    LL

  25. My husband is a vegetarian, so I always look for new meat substitutes. I’ve heard of soy bacon bits but never of shiitake bacon. I gotta try :] Thanks!

  26. Your fancy foodways are always so impressive. That looks like a masterpiece creation.

  27. HA HA HA you are funny! But when it comes to cooking you are dead serious! What a fabulous, creative recipe! I love shitake, absolutely love them and making them into bacon is brilliant. The whole dish looks so delicious. I’ll stay for breakfast…

  28. Daily Spud

    Wednesday, March 2, 2011 at 10:23 am

    OysterCulture: gosh, I hope I don’t discourage anyone – just hope that I encourage them to have something good to eat :)

    Bren: lovely to meet you too and great to see all of the different dishes that the bacon and eggs theme inspired

    sippitysup: …and I’m so glad for that too, Greg!

    Lori: thank you so much, it did taste pretty good :)

    Jackie: do try the shiitake out, definitely worth a look, especially if you have a veggie in the house

    Duo Dishes: gee, thanks guys, thought you might like it!

    Jamie: I would be so excited to have you stay for breakfast – let me go and get the kettle on… :)

  29. I can’t believe how bacon-like the shiitake turned out! What a healthy alternative. Love the concept of your dish. I could eat that any day!

  30. Now how did I miss this one in the round up? The shiitake bacon is a stroke of genius. Really lovely!

  31. Daily Spud

    Saturday, March 5, 2011 at 2:14 pm

    Jessica: as could I!

    Jenn: hey there, great to hear from you & glad you liked :)

    Trix: Thank you! It’s definitely something I’ll be making over and over.

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