pan roasted hen of the woods mushrooms with sea bean brown rice and scallion oil

From 2012-03-12 david's party

There are a few parts to this dish, all of which are pretty easy. We’re going to talk about a few things:

1. Cooking brown rice.
2. Making an herb based oil sauce/vinaigrette.
3. Mushroom cookery.
4. Blanching and using uncommon ingredients.

Start to finish this was about 30 minutes. Efficiency is key here.

Scallion oil
Green tops to a regular bunch of green onions, about 10-12
Juice from 1 lime (the one 1 used for zest below)
neutral oil
1/2 cup of water (ballpark measure)
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp of sesame oil
water (as needed to thin or dilute if it’s too strong)
salt to taste

Reserve the neutral oil and water, put the rest of the ingredients in a blender and start low increasing speed as the scallions break up. Not too fast, or it will make the bright green turn darker from the heat created by friction. Once that turns into a good liquid, add oil to make an emulsion. Adjust the consistency to what you consider a good salad dressing. If the lime juice or soy sauce are too strong, dilute with a little water.
This is something you can do while cooking the mushrooms or rice.

Brown rice
I have to say that precision rice cookery had escaped me until I learned a couple of easy rules.
First, white rice really doesn’t cook for more than 10 minutes. You can try to get the water volume precisely so you don’t have to drain anything, but I find it a lot easier to double the water volume and drain when the cooking time is done. Turns out great every time this way. Oh, and you can’t touch it until it cools down, which I speed up a bit by running cool water over it while it’s draining into the sink.
Second, brown rice is a completely different deal. Cooking time is 45-60 minutes. 1 used 2 cups to make sure we would have enough for the kids and left overs. I think much more than a half a cup per person is probably too much. Being the impatient type, I broke out the pressure cooker, giving it about 12 minutes with a rapid cool down, draining again as with white rice.
The rice cookery turned out to be the most time consuming part, but something that you just have to time, and do something else while it’s going.

Sea beans
I saw these at the market, and just got curious. They’re like little briny asparagus, without the powerful flavor of asparagus. They taste like a very mild seaweed. What the heck right?
We’ve covered blanching before. As a reminder, bring a pot of salted water (3% or seawater level) to boil, and put your greens in. When they look bright neon green, pull them out and chill with ice water or ice alone in a strainer so they don’t get soggy. When they cool, remove from water and dry. That’s it.

Pan roasted hen of the woods mushroom (maitake)
This comes as a 5×7 inch (12x18cm) brick of mushroom. Cut into thick slices, season with salt and pepper and sautee in hot butter or oil of choice. Be careful not to overheat the butter or it will burn and leave a bitter taste. When they’re gold like fried chicken, they’re done. Garnish with lime zest.

To date, it’s been one of our favorite vegetarian dishes. If you can’t find sea beans, you can use fresh herbs, blanched asparagus tips, basil, mint, whatever. The part that really brought it together was the scallion oil with the hints of soy sauce, sesame oil, and lime.

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