Spinach Salad with Seared Shiitake Mushrooms

YieldServes 4 to 6

Time15 minutes

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Shiitakes, which are sold in my supermarket along with cremini and button mushrooms, are powerhouse mushrooms. Along with the B-vitamins and minerals that all mushrooms contain, the shiitake contains all 8 amino acids, unusual for a plant, and the essential fatty acid linoleic acid, as well as an immune-boosting chemical component called lentinan. When you pan-cook them over high heat, as you do here, the flavor is very intense, because of the natural msg that all mushrooms contain.


Ingredients

For the dressing

  • 1tablespoon red or white wine vinegar or sherry vinegar
  • 1tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1small garlic clove, finely minced or pureed in a mortar and pestle
  •  Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • cup extra virgin olive oil (can substitute some yogurt or buttermilk for some of the olive oil for a low-fat dressing)

For the salad

  • 6large or 8 smaller fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced (discard the stems or use for stock)
  • 1teaspoon canola oil
  •  Salt to taste
  • 16- or 7-ounce package baby spinach, rinsed and dried
  • 1celery stalk, preferably from the inner heart of the celery, sliced very thin
  • 1 to 2tablespoons pine nuts or broken walnut pieces, lightly toasted
  • 1ounce crumbled goat cheese

Preparation

  1. Mix together the vinegar and lemon juice with the garlic, salt, pepper, and Dijon mustard using a fork or a small whisk. Whisk in the olive oil and the yogurt or buttermilk if using. Set aside.
  2. Combine the spinach, nuts, celery, and goat cheese in a salad bowl.
  3. Heat a pan over medium high heat. Add 1 teaspoon oil and when very hot, add the mushrooms. Shake the pan once, then let the mushrooms cook without moving them around until they begin to sweat and soften (watch closely). After about a minute or two, when they have begun to sear and release moisture, you can move them around in the pan. Cook for about 5 minutes, season to taste with salt and pepper and remove from the heat. Add to the spinach mixture and toss with the dressing. Serve at once.

Originally published in The New York Times Spinach Salad with Seared Shiitake Mushrooms, by Martha Rose Shulman