These shiitake crostini have been pickled in balsamic rice vinegar and paired with a creamy basil pesto ricotta spread for the perfect toasty bite.
I’ve never understood the mushroom haters. There are definitely things out there weird enough that even my adventurous palate isn’t willing to try or like (um, the ant larvae served with smoked avocado tartare at the Cancun wine and food festival last week would be one of those things) but mushrooms don’t even come close to falling in that category.
This balsamic pickled shiitake crostini recipe was created in connection with my appointment as a contributor to the Nakano Natural and Seasoned Rice Vinegar.
And yet, I feel like the general population is split in half with lovers of all things fungi (me) and extreme haters just like the ever divisive cilantro.
I hope you’re a lover.
Because these balsamic pickled shiitake mushrooms are baller and worth every penny of their slightly ridiculous price tag ($10.99 a pound, really?!).
I was trying to explain the term umami to Ulysses the other day (the fact that he didn’t even know of the word was slightly concerning to his food blogging wife) and found it nearly impossible to put into words. The one thing that kept popping into my head was ‘mushrooms!’
I don’t even know if that’s an accurate definition but, to me, they epitomize that savory-ness that umami tries to corral in food. When you pickle them in balsamic vinegar, soy sauce and shallots, the whole umami factor just gets explodes exponentially.
Nakano’s balsamic blend seasoned rice vinegar brings the perfect tang while the soy sauce highlights a little bit of saltiness in the mushrooms.
To offset that deep savory flavor, they’re placed on top of a refreshing basil pesto ricotta spread that will remind you summer is just around the corner (if this miserable NY weather ever lets up).
We’ve never done the brunch thing for mom on Mother’s Day so if you’re anything like my family, throw these shiitake crostini on the menu instead.
Guarantee it’ll beat French toast any day.
For the pickled mushrooms
- 10 ounces sliced shiitake mushrooms
- 2/3 cup Nakano balsamic blend seasoned rice vinegar
- 1/3 cup water
- 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 shallot, minced
For the basil pesto ricotta spread
- 1/3 cup packed basil leaves
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 clove garlic
- salt and pepper
- 1/2 cup ricotta
- Sliced and toasted French or Italian bread
- microgreens for garnish
- Make the pickled mushrooms by combining all the ingredients in a medium sauce pot. Bring to a simmer, turn off heat and let cool. Transfer to a jar and keep refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.
- Make the basil pesto ricotta spread by combining the basil, parmesan, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper in a food processor. Process until finely chopped. Add the ricotta and process again until incorporated.
- To assemble, spread the basil pesto ricotta on a slice of toasted bread. Top with a spoonful of the mushrooms and garnish with some microgreens. Serve immediately.