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Cooking with JoJo: There is a tasty fungus among us

Joey Morasse • Jan 2, 2018 at 9:13 PM

The perfect meal doesn’t have to have a wide variety of flavors. In past columns, I have talked about complete flavor profiles of sweet, savory, salty and sour. 

But for this recipe, for example, the simple and savory dish of steak and mushrooms takes two rich flavors and puts them together for a satisfying dinner. 

While the button mushroom is the most common used in cooking, we shouldn’t overlook other species out there. There are well more than 20 different types of mushrooms that range from the porcini, stone, wolf, chanterelle, portabella and oyster with varying textures and flavors of their own. 

For this recipe, I am using the golden oak shiitake. As the name implies, these were first found to grow in hardwood logs such as oak trese. Much like the portabella, they do not reduce in size much when cooked and have a nice texture that goes along great with steak.

What you’ll need:

• 8 oz. sirloin or steak cut of choice.

• 1/8-cup olive oil

• 16 oz. shiitake mushrooms with the stems and caps apart.

• 2 tsp. butter.

• 1 tsp. salt.

• 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

• 6 whole peeled garlic cloves.

It is never good to cook a steak right out of the fridge. Allowing it to come close to room temperature will help the meat cook evenly. A cold steak, when placed in a hot pan, will also be tougher as the fibers tighten when going from one extreme to the other. 

Season the steak simply with salt on each side. Add the pepper after it is cooked, because when pepper is seared, it becomes bitter. In a dry pan on high heat, sear the steak one minute on each side to form a crust. If you wish to cook it further, reduce the heat by half to get the desired doneness you want. Remove from the pan and let rest while you cook the mushrooms. 

In the same pan on medium heat, add in olive oil, mushrooms and stems. Add salt and pepper and allow to cook, turning about every three to five minutes. When they start to turn a nice brown color, add in the butter and mix well. 

After five minutes, the butter will start to turn a golden brown. Add in the garlic cloves. The key here is not to burn them, but to slowly brown them. While you may think a whole clove of garlic would be intense to eat, a slow pan-roasted clove has a nutty and mild flavor. 

When done, remove all from pan and place atop the steak. By now, the steak should be well rested and juicy. For me, the perfect bite is a slice of steak topped with a mushroom and a sliver of roasted garlic. Enjoy.

Cooking since he could pull a chair up to the stove at 5 years old, Joey Morasse, of Lebanon, is the owner and operator of JoJo’s Barbecue and Catering. He is also a personal chef and offers in-home cooking classes.

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