Saturday, November 26, 2016

Vegan shaggy mane summer rolls with spicy peanut sauce. Foraged, gluten-free wild mushroom recipe.

With my husband working on Thanksgiving, (he's a nurse), and my family all 6 states away, I decided to spend the whole day in the woods. I explored some new trails, got eaten alive by bugs, experienced the kind of natural beauty which refreshes my soul, and basically expressed thankfulness my own way.

I started to make my way back to my car about an hour before sundown, tired, dirty, and renewed. 

I'd found some more tasty curly dock, and medicinal Ganoderma mushrooms. . . But then I saw this ghost-like shape poking through the leaf litter. A shaggy mane.

Once I saw one I saw another, and another, and another. Having trained my eye, I started to see the little ones, mostly burried in the leaves. I used a stick to brush aside the fallen foliage, and I started to see the tender, flavorful babies.

Sorry no pics in the wild. I always find the most interesting things after my phone has died. 

Shaggy manes, known as lawyer's wigs in the UK, are Corprinus comatus, members of the inky cap family of mushrooms. They were once considered part of the "foolproof five" : mushrooms that you couldn't mistake for anything else. But I've seen many mushrooms, including some poisonous ones, misidentified as shaggy manes.

I plan on doing an ID post later on, but one thing you definitely want to see is gills that start to turn purple, black or into a black goo at the edges. This is the definitive feature. 

The shaggy manes posed a conundrum for me: I love them and wanted to eat them, but I also wanted to go home, eat leftovers, and veg out (having been walking all day). The problem is , you can't store shaggy manes, you have to cook them within a few hours of picking, or they turn into a pile of sticky black goo. Once cooked, they are stable and will keep as long as any other cooked nushroom.

It was also Thanksgiving day, with no supermarkets open, so I had the contents of my pantry, and anything from the Asian market (the only store open) at my disposal. Also, shaggy mane mushrooms have a rather delicate, creamy flavor, and are easily overwhelmed by strong sauces and other ingredients.

After some deliberation, I decided on vegan, Vietnamese-style summer rolls. They are pretty simple to make, and can be done in batches, which was good since I had a bunch of Thanksgiving phone calls to make. Unlike the spring rolls we get from Chinese restaurants in the US, they aren't fried, saving on calories, fat and time. Most importantly, I could pick up all the ingredients I needed at the Asian market. 

As with most recipes I share, the ingredients can be tweaked to what you have on hand. If you need gluten-free, make sure to pick rice-only noodles and rice and tapioca only wraps, some brands include flour. Though generally considered an appetizer, I've eaten summer rolls as a main course many times. They are especially good if you have traveling to do, they transport well, and are served cold. 

The easy peanut dipping sauce is my own creation, and it tastes fantastic, despite being a lot simpler than a more authentic, time-consuming sauce.

Don't have shaggy manes? Try this with any store-bought mushroom, though I would recommend oysters as the best. 

Shaggy mane mushroom summer roll recipe:

Makes 12 rolls

3 cups cleaned shaggy mane mushrooms
1 large carrot, or burdock root, peeled
4 scallions
12 rice and tapioca wrappers
Rice vermicelli noodles
2 tbs soy sauce or fish sauce
5-6 romaine lettuce leaves, more for serving
olive oil
sea salt

  1. Cook and drain your rice vermicelli, according to package directions. Set aside to cool.
  2. "Shave" your carrot. This is when you slice your knife along the length of the carrot, getting pieces that are thin but about 2" long and 1" wide. Alternatively, you could cut into thin coins. 
  3. Heat some olive oil in a pan. Add the carrot and sautee. 
  4. Chop your shaggy manes into just-larger-than-bite-sized pieces. I quartered the small ones, and made 1" wide coins out of the medium and large ones. 
  5. Chop the white and light green portions of your scallions, 
  6. Chop the dark green portions, and set aside.
  7. When your carrots are tenderly cooked through, remove from pan and set aside. 
  8. Add the shaggy manes to the pan with a drizzle of olive oil and sauté. As the mushrooms cook, they will release a LOT of liquid. Drain the liquid periodically, so that the mushrooms aren't boiling in it. When the mushrooms are about half-cooked, add in the white and light green portions of the scallion. Continue to sauté till both are fully cooked.
  9. Add the carrot and the reserved dark green scallion areas to the pan. Add your soy sauce or fish sauce, and a sprinkle of sea salt. Toss to mix.
  10. Heat until all the flavors come together, and the dark scallion greens are wilted. Remove from heat. 

Forming the summer rolls:

  1. Over low heat, bring about 1" of water in your sauté pan to just under a boil. I use setting "3" out of 10 on my stove. 
  2. Holding onto just the edge, dip the whole wrapper into the water, for just about a second. Literally no more than one second. Rotate, and dip again from the opposite side. Again, no more than one second.
  3. Transfer to the cutting board, laying flat. Add a small amount of stir-fry mix, then some rice vermicelli, then a piece of lettuce to each roll. 
  4. Fold the top down, then the bottom up, then the right side over, and finally the left side over. 

Spicy peanut dipping sauce: 

1/2 cup natural, no sugar added, creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup chili garlic sauce
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/8 cup soy sauce or fish sauce
1-3 tbs natural honey

Mix the first 4 ingredients together, and taste for flavor. If the mix is too sour or spicy for your taste, add honey, one tablespoon at a time, tasting as you go. Spread over your rolls and serve. Optional: if you would prefer a true dipping sauce, add water, a tablespoon at a time, to thin. 

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