Monday, January 20, 2014

Shiitake Bacon:

Don't Believe Me? Try it. 

Oh mushrooms. What can I say to you that I haven't said a million times over? I love you unconditionally. You are one of my dearest culinary friends. We go back a long time. A very long time. But you've been keeping a secret from me and, while I'm a little disappointed that you haven't been completely honest with me, I am still truly delighted that you have surprised me in such a wonderful way.      

At first I was in complete disbelief. Denial, if you will. I said " way that can be true". But then, out of sheer curiosity, I followed the recipe and I'll be damned if you didn't taste like bacon. You never cease to amaze me, my dear, dear friend. 

Everywhere I turn, it's bacon this and bacon that. While I don't really miss it that much, it does have it's merits, flavorwise. I made these for two reasons. A: I didn't believe it. B: I wanted to top a salad I was making that called for bacon bits. I even got my wife, who HATES mushrooms to try one. It took a lot of coaxing but I eventually got her to take a nibble. Actually it was closer to a lick because she definitely didn't want to commit. But then she kinda perked up a bit and said: "Holy crap, it does taste like bacon". Then she did the unthinkable. Something I never thought I'd see in my lifetime. She sprinkled a few on her own salad. What?!!! Score one for the mushrooms!!!

This is a fun one to make but you have to be very careful with it. The mushrooms that are readily available in my area seem to be pretty small. And the trick to getting this recipe to go right is to have uniformity in your cuts. You want all the slices to be basically the same size. If you don't have that uniformity, they simply won't cook evenly. Some will be under cooked and they don't take on that bacon flavor while others will be over cooked and taste like burnt bacon. Some people like that burnt taste but I don't.
After I've cut my mushrooms, they would be roughly the size of a quarter that was cut in half. Then, after they are cooked, they will reduce to maybe the size of a dime that was cut in half.

The video to the original recipe that I found can be viewed here

Tip: Uniformly cut slices are a must. I cannot emphasize that enough. 

Tip: Watch these very closely while they are roasting. Make sure to stir every ten minutes and don't allow them to pile on top of each other. My experience with the "half quarter" sized cut is that they take roughly 30 minutes. Larger cuts obviously will take longer. And taste them each time you stir them. You want them a little crisp. 

Shiitake Bacon


  • 3 oz. fresh shiitake mushrooms. Cut uniformly in size to about half the size of a quarter.
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt 


    1. Preheat your oven to 350°F. 

    2. Place your sliced mushrooms in a bowl.

    3. Drizzle with olive oil and then add the salt. Stir with a spoon until the oil and salt evenly coats the mushrooms. 

    4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the mushrooms onto the baking sheet making sure they are in one even layer and not piled on top of each other. 

    3. Roast in the oven for approximately 30 minutes. You must stir them every 10 minutes. Roasting time will vary depending on the size of the cut. If you cut the mushrooms to the "half quarter" size, they will take approximately 30 minutes. However that cook time will be longer if the mushrooms are cut larger. Make sure you don't over cook the mushrooms because they will taste like burnt bacon. If you get that far, you gotta start again so be careful! 

    Servings: As a salad topping, serves 4-5.

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