18 June, 2012
Enokitake & Bacon
It all started with a special request for a birthday boy. “His favourite foods are enoki mushrooms and cheese,” said his doting girlfriend.
It’s a well-known fact that birthdays are magical days when, no matter what your age, your every whim should be catered for. I broadcast this rule loud and clear so that everyone (especially the Dolphin) should be left with no doubt on protocol when it comes to birthdays…especially mine!
Anyhoo, back to enokitake mushrooms. Did you know that they are named after the enoki tree it naturally grows on in the wild? The enoki mushrooms you find in supermarkets are cultivated and the neatest way to tell is by their colour – cultivated enoki are not exposed to light and grow up to be a whiter shade of pale, whereas their crazy wild cousins roughing it out in the big bad forest grow up to be a toughguy brown.
Even though enokitake have been used in Asian cooking for gajillions of years (ok, I exaggerate slightly) I confess I only like them 2 ways: tempura-style or grilled with belly pork, yakitori kushiyaki-style. They are so ethereal that when added to soups or stir-fries etc, they seem to disappear, only popping up to remind me of their existence when they catch in my teeth.
This is a cross between enoki maki and asuparabékon – enoki is clustered together and bound by salty crisp bacon, transforming into a springy little mouthfuls of delicate creaminess.
I think it’s a delectable combination, but then I am so biased when it comes to bacon so you had better be the judge!