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Shiitake Parmesan Sliders

Shiitakes are transformed into something just as good as the veal or chicken version.


Perfect meatless party food or an easy weeknight meal!

Even the most devoted meat eaters cannot deny the deliciousness of this “Meatless Monday” recipe. Shiitake mushrooms are the best fungi choice to make a crumb-coated base for tomato sauce, mozzarella, and parmesan because they are firm and hold their shape. The following recipe -created for the May 2020 recipe of the month for the Westport Famer's Market - outlines versions both to shallow fry and bake the shiitakes. You can choose even the breading: fresh breadcrumbs are exceptionally good, but panko (Japanese breadcrumbs) adds a super crunchy textural element, for the taste buds and the eyes.

Equipment: cutting board; chef’s knife; dry and wet measuring cups; measuring spoons; shallow bowls; fork; cast iron skillet or large sauté pan (with straight sides); rimmed sheet pan; tongs


Ingredients: 8 large shiitake mushrooms (Seacoast Mushrooms)

½ cup all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon kosher salt ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 2 eggs, lightly beaten 2 cups fresh breadcrumbs or panko vegetable oil for frying or olive oil for baking (see below)

1½ cups tomato sauce (Sport Hill Farm)

8 slices fresh mozzarella cheese

8 basil leaves or 1 cup basil microgreens (Two Guys from Woodbrige or Gilbertie’s)

kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

8 brioche buns (Wave Hill Breads)




Preheat the oven to 425°F. If you plan to bake and not fry using panko, first toast the panko in a dry skillet over medium heat until golden in color and set aside. (If frying with panko or using fresh breadcrumbs either to fry or bake, proceed to the next step.)


Remove the stems from each shiitake, discard the stems or save for mushroom stock, and set aside the mushrooms. Combine the flour, salt, and pepper in a wide shallow bowl and set aside. Then beat the eggs with a fork in a wide shallow bowl and set aside. Put the breadcrumbs in a wide shallow bowl and set aside. From left to right, line up the seasoned flour, egg mixture, and breadcrumbs, respectively.


IF PAN-FRYING: Dredge one mushroom in the seasoned flour, being sure to coat with flour everywhere, and shake off the excess. Then dip the coated mushroom on all sides into the egg mixture, then directly into the breadcrumbs. With a dry hand, toss well to coat and set aside. Repeat with the remaining mushrooms.


Heat ½-inch of vegetable oil in a cast iron skillet or large sauté pan over medium-high heat until the surface begins to shimmer. To test if the oil is hot, carefully lower the tip of one coated shiitake into the oil. If the crumb-coating sizzles, the oil is ready. If nothing happens, the oil is not yet hot, so remove the mushroom immediately and wait a little while longer. Depending on the size of your pan, fry the mushrooms all at once or in two batches, being careful not to crowd the pan. Fry on the flat side-down for 2-3 minutes, or until the bottom and edges are golden brown, adjusting the heat as necessary. Turn each mushroom carefully with tongs in the order in which they entered the pan, and fry for another 2-3 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown. Set the mushrooms on a paper towel-lined plate or pan to drain.


Place the mushrooms on a rimmed sheet pan, flat side-down. Add a 2-3 tablespoons of sauce on each mushroom (they should be flat-side down and thus the “cupped” side facing upward). Sprinkle each mushroom with 1 teaspoon of parmesan cheese and top with a slice of mozzarella. Bake in the oven for 5-6 minutes or broil for 1-2 minutes, or until the mozzarella has melted.


Top each mushroom with basil or basil microgreens, season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, and place on brioche buns. Serve immediately.



IF BAKING WITH FRESH BREADCRUMBS: Moisten the fresh breadcrumbs with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Dredge one mushroom in the seasoned flour, being sure to coat with flour everywhere, and shake off the excess. Then dip the coated mushroom on all sides into the egg mixture, then directly into the breadcrumbs. With a dry hand, toss well to coat and set aside. Repeat with the remaining mushrooms and place on a lightly oiled rimmed sheet pan, flat side-down. Bake for 12-15 minutes, turning once halfway through the cooking time.


Remove the sheet pan from the oven. Add 2-3 tablespoons of sauce on each mushroom (they should be flat-side down and thus the “cupped” side facing upward). Sprinkle each mushroom with 1 teaspoon of parmesan cheese and top with a slice of mozzarella. Bake in the oven for 5-6 minutes, or until the mozzarella has melted.


Top each mushroom with basil microgreens, season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, and place on brioche buns. Serve immediately.


IF BAKING WITH PANKO: Dredge one mushroom in the seasoned flour, being sure to coat with flour everywhere, and shake off the excess. Then dip the coated mushroom on all sides into the egg mixture, then directly into the toasted panko (see Step 1.). With a dry hand, toss well to coat and set aside. Repeat with the remaining mushrooms and place on a lightly oiled rimmed sheet pan, flat side- down. Bake for 8-10 minutes, turning once halfway through the cooking time.


Remove the sheet pan from the oven. Add 2-3 tablespoons of sauce on each mushroom (they should be flat-side down and thus the “cupped” side facing upward). Sprinkle each mushroom with 1 teaspoon of parmesan cheese and top with a slice of mozzarella. Bake in the oven for 5-6 minutes, or until the mozzarella has melted.


Top each mushroom with basil microgreens, season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, and place on brioche buns. Serve immediately.


Makes 4 servings.


Breading Is As Easy As 1-2-3


You need three bowls: one shallow bowl with flour and seasonings, a second shallow bowl with eggs and other wet ingredients, and a third shallow bowl with breadcrumbs. Moving from left to right is key, and so is keeping one hand dry and one hand wet. That is, flour the food with your left hand (dry), but dip it in egg with your right hand (wet). Move the food from the egg, shaking off excess, to the breadrcumbs using your wet, right hand. Dredge the food in the breadcrumbs with your dry, left hand and move it to a pan or plate. Never put your dry hand in the eggs, or your wet hand in the flour or breadcrumbs.

Makes 8 sliders or 4 servings.



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