That's not to say that I'm a full-fledged convert. I still have my issues. But I will say this- if you are looking to overcome an aversion to mushrooms, the typical button variety is not the place to start. And shiitakes are.
Why? Well, first of all, they actually taste better once they've been dried. If you've ever purchased a pound of mushrooms with good intentions, only to place them in the refrigerator where for the the next few days you see them and think, "I'm just not ready"- until you finally are, but they've become, well, overready- then you know what I'm talking about. But most importantly, their flavor is fantastic- not overly earthy, and unlike most fungi, they're wonderfully chewy, and not at all rubbery.
Oh- and they make excellent, excellent fajitas.
The beautiful thing about using this marinade to reconstitute your mushrooms, aside from it saving you the extra step of boiling water, is that while the peppers and onions do soak up the marinade as well, the mushrooms become veritable flavor sponges, bursting with deliciousness at every bite.
Inspired by this Fajita Recipe
1 oz sliced dried shiitake mushrooms
1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 green bell pepper, thinly sliced
olive oil, enough to coat pan
8-10 cloves garlic, minced
2/3 cup water
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tsp fresh squeezed lime juice
1/2 tsp liquid smoke
1 tsp ground cumin
1/8- 1/4 tsp ground chipotle powder, depending on your spice tolerance
1 tsp salt, or to taste
1/2 tsp pepper, or to taste
Whisk together all marinade ingredients. Place peppers and onions into large ziploc bag and add marinade. Gently squeeze the bag to be sure all of your veggies are nicely coated. Place in refrigerator for anywhere from 30 min. to 2 hours, but no longer (or mushrooms will get mushy.)
Bring large frying pan to medium heat, then add olive oil and marinated veggies. Cover and let cook, undisturbed, for 6-8 minutes. Remove cover and stir. Continue to cook, stirring only when necessary, until veggies are softened. Serve with warm corn tortillas and your favorite toppings (guacamole, pico de gallo, etc.) Mexican Red Rice makes a lovely side. Enjoy!