As happy as I am that winter is officially OVER, I’m really over this back and forth on cold weather versus hot weather we’re having right now. (Currently I’m writing this while wearing a scarf, a sweater, pants, and flip-flops as the temperatures drop into the 40s, and yet it’s supposed to be sunny and in the low 70s this weekend.) Be that as it may, at least we can all be thankful that springtime produce is slowly making its way into the market. Spring onions are already there, and I’m counting down the weeks for ramp season to be upon us–I have a feeling I’ll be trolling Whole Foods and Dawson’s on a weekly basis to get my hands on those.
In the meantime, though, I’ll be making this salad again and again. It’s one of those recipes that I would gloss over when I’d flip through Momofuku looking for inspiration, but last weekend I lingered over it long enough to realize that I basically loved every component in it and therefore had to make it right away. Pickled sunchokes? Yes please! Roasted mushrooms? Uh, give me all of them. Braised pistachios? Never had them, but I was definitely intrigued. Fresh radishes? Delicious and also the key to a healthy urethra according to Chris Traeger from Parks and Rec.
What’s essential to getting this dish right is to look at all of the ingredients as separate components. This is very much a recipe from a professional chef’s perspective: you can easily see what would be ideally made during prep time (the radishes, the braised pistachios and the pickled sunchokes) and what would be done during actual dinner service (the roasted mushrooms and plating everything). If you take that approach at home and make some of the components in advance, it makes the dish much more achievable and you won’t find yourself trying to juggle all of these elements when you’re trying to make dinner yourself.
Better yet, doing that prep work isn’t difficult–it simply requires some time. Time to peel and cut up the sunchokes, time to shell and then braise the pistachios, and even some time to make the dashi as the base of the braising liquid. If you put on some music or a favorite show, you can easily be done with these tasks within an hour and change. The final dish is so worth the effort, I assure you–not only did I make this for dinner on Saturday, but then I took the leftover mushrooms I had and made it again on Sunday morning as an impromptu breakfast. (A poached egg would have probably turned this into the ultimate brunch dish, but that will have to wait for another day.) If you’re in the mood for both a bit of a kitchen project and something light and spring-like, make this dish. Your tastebuds will thank you.
Pan-roasted mushroom salad with pickled sunchokes and braised pistachios
Adapted from Momofuku
Serves 2-3 as a salad
- 3-4 large radishes, cut into wedges
- 1.5 teaspoons sugar
- 1 3×6 piece of konbu, rinsed
- 4 cups water plus 1/2 cup water, divided
- 1 cup shelled, roasted pistachios
- 1/4 cup mirin
- 1/4 cup grapeseed or other natural oil
- 3.5 oz oyster mushrooms, cleaned and cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch pieces
- 2 garlic cloves, smashed
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1.5 tablespoons sherry vinegar
- 1 cup pickled sunchokes (recipe below)
- A few handfuls of microgreens (kale is really good here)
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Kosher salt
- 1 package enoki mushrooms for garnish (optional)
Toss the radishes with the sugar and a pinch of salt and set aside until time to assemble the salads.
Braise the pistachios: first, make a dashi by combining the konbu with 4 cups of water into a saucepan; bring to a boil and then let steep for ten minutes. Add the mirin and the pistachios to the pot, bring to a boil, and then simmer the pistachios until they are nice and tender, about an hour. Drain the nuts and reserve about a third for garnish; put the rest in a container and add the 1/2 cup water and blend with an immersion blender until it is nice and smooth, with the consistency of peanut butter. Set aside until ready to use.
Roast the mushrooms: take a tablespoon of the oil and heat it in a large skillet (preferably cast iron) over medium-high heat. When hot, add the oyster mushrooms in batches as to not over-crowd the pan; let them sit undisturbed for 2 minutes before flipping and letting them sit for another 2 minutes and then remove from the pan. Keep roasting mushrooms as needed, adding oil when required. When all of the mushrooms are cooked add them back to the pan, add the butter and garlic, and once the butter is melted add the vinegar and let the liquid cook off completely. REmove from pan.
Assemble the plates: add a smear of the pureed pistachios and then add the oyster mushrooms, radishes, and sunchokes, topping with the whole braised pistachios, enoki mushrooms (if using), and microgreens. Serve immediately.
- 1 lb sunchokes/Jerusalem artichokes, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch batons
- 1 cup piping hot water from the tap
- 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
Combine all of the brine ingredients (save for the vegetable) into a pot and bring to a boil and then pour on the sunchokes. (Use a heat-resistant container to store them in, obviously.) Refrigerate until ready to use.