How can you make bacon that tastes even richer than pork? I’m not talking about other meats, but plants that are naturally imbued with deeply savory flavors. Concentrated umami brings out a bold world of intensely earthy, almost gamey notes that put animal products to shame. What I’m talking about, of course, are dried Sugimoto shiitake mushrooms.
All it takes is an overnight soak for these substantial caps to spring back to life. Transforming this humble fungus into America’s favorite breakfast food is as simple as switching out plain water for a boldly seasoned brine. Smoky, gently peppered, and subtly sweet, simple pantry staples transform mundane ingredients into something truly sublime.
Once plump and fully rehydrated, the larger, flatter Koshin variety have the perfect texture, primed for slow roasting in the oven. Gradually toasting in the low heat, the edges caramelize and become extra crispy, while the thicker centers retain a hearty, substantial, super chewy bite. It’s the best of all worlds, in both the plant and animal kingdoms.
Stock up on shiitake bacon, double down or even triple the batch, because there’s simply no dish that wouldn’t benefit from this umami bomb topper. Keep them in short strips, roughly chop them into bacon bits, or grind them into a fine powder to use as a savory sprinkle. Just a few of my favorite ways to use shiitake bacon include:
- Salads, especially Caesar or Cobb
- Avocado toast
- Tofu scrambles
- Baked potatoes
- Broccoli and cheese soup
- Cheese balls
- Charcuterie boards
- Mac and cheese
- BLT sandwiches
- Bloody Marys
There’s nothing wrong with just munching on a handful of bacon as a snack, instead of potato chips or crackers. Unlike conventional options, there’s no cholesterol, very little fat, plenty of fiber, and zero cruelty.
For bacon-lovers and animal-lovers, this is the best recipe yet.
- 2 Cups Water
- 1/4 Cup Soy Sauce
- 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 1 Tablespoon Liquid Smoke
- 1 Tablespoon Maple Syrup
- 1/2 Teaspoon Smoked Paprika
- 1/4 Teaspoon Instant Coffee Powder
- 1/4 Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
- 1 (2.47-Ounce) Package Dried Sugimoto Koshin Shiitake Mushrooms
- To make the bacon, begin by whisking together the water, soy sauce, olive oil, liquid smoke, maple syrup, paprika, instant coffee, and black pepper in a medium bowl. Add the dried shiitake and stir thoroughly to combine. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface, covering and keeping all the mushrooms submerged in the liquid. Refrigerate and let soak for at least 8 hours. Longer is better; 24 hours would be ideal, if possible.
- Remove the plastic and transfer the contents, mushrooms and liquid together, to a small saucepan. Warm over medium heat until just boiling. Let rest until cool enough to handle.
- Once the mushrooms are fully hydrated, preheat your oven to 300 degrees and line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
- Remove the shiitake from the brine, remove the stems and save them for another recipe. Slice the caps into 1-cm wide strips.
- Spread out the mushrooms into as even a layer as possible on your prepared baking sheet, without any pieces overlapping. Bake for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, carefully flipping the strips every 15 minutes or so to keep the entire batch cooking evenly.
- Cook until the mushrooms are dry to the touch and highly aromatic. Straight out of the oven, the mushrooms will still be slightly soft to the touch but will crisp up nicely once cool.
- Let cool completely. Stored at room temperature in an airtight container, the bacon will keep for up to two weeks.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 21Total Fat: 2gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 222mgCarbohydrates: 1gFiber: 0gSugar: 1gProtein: 0g
All nutritional information presented within this site are intended for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and any nutritional information on BitterSweetBlog.com should only be used as a general guideline. This information is provided as a courtesy and there is no guarantee that the information will be completely accurate. Even though I try to provide accurate nutritional information to the best of my ability, these figures should still be considered estimations.
This post was made possible as a collaboration with SUGIMOTO Co. My opinions can not be bought and all content is original. This page may contain affiliate links; thank you for supporting my blog!