I got another pound of shiitakes from my logs a few weeks ago. Half of them went into an Asian-inspired chicken noodle soup and the rest I saved in the fridge wrapped in damp paper towels. They keep for a long time that way, but not forever. Sooner or later, they dry out. In fact, drying them is a good way to preserve them.
Ever since I started growing mushrooms, I’ve been cutting off the woody stems of the shiitakes, drying them, and funneling the desiccated nubbins into a mason jar for future vegetable stocks. I did consider drying these October shiitakes for a future winter stew, but I also knew the tender caps would probably be the last fresh, local mushrooms I’d see before my prolific logs take their long winter’s rest. With that thought, I very thinly sliced the remaining shiitakes and tossed them with a bit of olive oil, chopped thyme, salt, and pepper. Then I roasted them in a 350°F degree oven for about 15 minutes, flipping once. My thinking was that I’d keep them in the fridge for filling omelets on the fly, decorating pizzas, or topping a fall-themed bruschetta. What I didn’t foresee was my inability to keep my hands off of them once they came out of the oven so nicely browned and generously salted. I kept snacking on them every time I walked by.
I did manage to set some aside for pizza and omelets, but I don’t think we should overlook the idea of mushrooms as a snack all on their own. Half crispy, half chewy, all long and tentacled, they were absolutely, drop-dead delicious.