What is this shitake?
Greg let me linger outside my cagea little longer than usual so I could hoist a few with some of my fellow travel writers (Tony Perrottet, Jen Leo,David Farley,Jessie Sholl,Stephanie Elizondo Griest and Don George who spent most of the evening thinking I was just some dingbat until the end of the evening, when he learned I was the dingbat responsible for No Touch Monkey! Stayed out way past my bed time, indulging in an increasingly beer addled fantasy that we were all devil-may-care foreign correspondents or some glamorous Hollywood version thereof.
This morning, it was back to reality as Greg flew the coop to indulge his own writerly fantasy (the one in which he works, unmolested by small children or their favor-seeking mother) and I discovered that the library books are due. On a Sunday? How can this be? I was looking forward to laying around nursing a mild hangover, but now I have to type out my (slightly adapted) recipe for shitake mushroom topping from the Brooklyn Cookbook
Its original author, who judging from her O'surname is about as Siamese as I am, dubbed it a Thai-Style Topping for Pan-Fried Fish. I can't recall ever tasting its like in Thailand ... possibly at Cambodian Cuisine, though how would I know, the only thing I ever order there is that Mongolian Hot Pot with lemongrass and bean curd thing. (Excuse the lack of specificity, I'm having a little panic attack here as I can't find the delivery menu).The last thing I need after last night's Red Stripe excess is anything pan fried so if I was digging around in the aquarium in search of a worthy bottom for this topping, I'd steam some tilapia atop a bed of julienned fresh ginger. I ain't being hypothetical here, but in the course of eating it that way, I discovered that this topping tastes great on everything! Rice, bread, my fingers... maybe not ice cream, but that's what hot fudge is for.
Julienne five or six big, fresh shitakes
Soak them in
2 Tablespoons of fish sauce
2 teaspoons of sugar
1/2 cup of water
and 1 tea spoon of fresh ground pepper (which is a total bitch for me because my pepper grinder is one of these rabbit head numbers that's kind of cunning until the amount of pepper called for in a recipe ends up giving you repetitive stress disorder.
Fry 2 teaspoons of minced garlic
& 2 teaspoons of minced ginger
in 2 teaspoons of vegetable oil until lightly browned.
Add the mushroom mixture.
When the mushrooms are hot, you're done.