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…
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:
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”
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
- 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.
- 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.
- Clearly, you can use real smoky bacon here if you like, I won’t mind.
- An eggy, faux-bacony breakfast or brunch for 2
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.
- 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.
- 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).
- Omit the smoked paprika if you like.
- Yields around 50g crisped shiitake mushrooms.