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Crispy Shiitakes / Shiitake Bacon / House Arrest

Crispy Shiitakes | Umami GirlOoh, baby. Just one look at these crispy, savory, slightly smoky shiitakes and I’m weak in the knees.

Just kidding. The knee weakness is a result of muscle atrophy. And the muscle atrophy is from my house arrest.

House arrest is our new term for snow days followed by Mom I’m Tired Can’t I Just Sleep days followed by sick days dating back before the dawn of time and continuing to the present. It’s a more fitting description than mere “cabin fever” or “stir-craziness.” House arrest comes closer to capturing the intensity of the experience. Gives you the appropriate amount of street cred. I almost wish schools would call a spade a spade and hand out ankle bracelets.

When your kid is sick with a routine illness from which she’ll make a full recovery — cold, or was it the flu, strep — you learn what it feels like to be a saint and a martyr and an ass all at once. A one-woman manger scene. A perpetual swirl of love and annoyance and gratitude and three kinds of selfishness punctuated with flashes of existential dread and potato chip cravings.

At least there’s coffee. And wine. And, to get to the point, crispy shiitakes. Which, truth be told, really do make me a little weak in the knees.

Sprinkle these beautiful whispers of possibility over anything from pasta and pizza to ramen and miso soup for an extra hit of umami. If you’re ever faced with lackluster food, they’re basically a Get Out of Jail Free Card.

In case you happen to know anyone who needs one of those.

Talk to you soon.

Crispy Shiitakes/Shiitake Bacon

Preparation 10 min Cook Time 20 min Total Time 0:30

These little umami bombs do taste reasonably like bacon, but I prefer to think of them in their own glory, showering eggs, risottos and pastas, or whatever meals you like with savory love.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound shiitake mushrooms
  • 1/3 cup canola or other neutral oil
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375°F with two racks close to the center. Brush any dirt off shiitakes. Remove stems and slice caps very thinly.
  • Divide shiitake slices equally between two rimmed cookie sheets. Sprinkle over each pan half the oil, half the smoked paprika, and half the salt. Toss thoroughly to coat, then spread shiitakes in a single layer without crowding.
  • Bake for about 20 minutes, until some bits are quite crispy and others a little softer. Let cool slightly before serving. I rarely have leftovers, but if you do, store tightly covered in the fridge for several days and pop in the toaster oven to re-crisp.
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    Recipe Notes

  • Shiitake bacon has made the rounds, but I first got the idea to incorporate smoked paprika from Joy Manning.
  • 2 reviews
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    Hi there, I'm Carolyn, and I'm delighted you're here. I'm a NYC-area food, travel, yoga, coffee, wine, running, music making and book obsessive with a great family and a love for sharing it all with you. Grab a drink and come on in. Learn more.

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