Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Scrambled Eggs with Maitake Mushrooms and Spring Onions

I had about half of that maitake mushroom left over from the other night's stew adventure, and last night I figured out a way to put it to good use. I think of scrambled eggs as a bit of a platform that I've explored in a wide variety of ways, replicating in the past flavors such as pizza, Italian sausage, Thai curry, and a number of other culinary experiences.

This morning I decided to let scrambled eggs feature the rest of that maitake mushroom, and as long as I was going Asian with it, I figured I might as well do it right. This recipe, which has another fancy, ten-plus-dollars name turned out really well, as I kind of expected it would by trying to imagine the flavors combining as I lay in bed last night drifting off to sleep. It has the added distinction of being perhaps the first recipe I've ever made that uses Chinese five-spice appropriately (something every wannabe gourmet buys and can't figure out how to use once they smell or try it). Here it is, to serve two people lightly:

  • Four large eggs (I'd prefer jumbo, but we have large);
  • 4 oz. maitake mushroom, chopped
  • 2 spring/green onions, washed and peeled, split lengthwise and cut into half-inch-long pieces;
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed and finely chopped;
  • a quarter of an inch fresh ginger root, sliced thin and then chopped finely;
  • a dash of sesame oil (go light... use half as much as you would think a "light drizzle" is... this stuff is potent and will overpower the dish quickly and easily);
  • a splash of rice vinegar;
  • a half teaspoon sesame seeds;
  • a dusting of Chinese five spice (go light... this stuff is potent too... use just less than you think is not really enough);
  • salt to taste;
  • 1 tablespoon peanut or canola oil.
Here's how I did it: First, I chopped everything, starting with the garlic because the longer garlic sits in the air after being chopped and before being cooked, the more health-promoting properties it has (they are produced by injured garlic via enzymes that are destroyed during cooking, leaving behind only the health-promoting compounds but none of the machinery to make more of those). With everything prepared, I heated the oil in a nonstick skillet over high heat because Asian cooking seems to often feature searing things with crazy high heat. Once the pan was hot, I dumped in all of the veggies except the ginger and garlic and immediately salted them lightly to draw out some of their moisture (I don't like sloppy, slimy eggs, so I need my veg to give off its juice early in the cooking process). After a couple of minutes during which I lowered the temperature to just above medium and stirred, I added the garlic and ginger and let that cook in for a minute or two before adding a splash of rice vinegar and a very light drizzle of sesame oil (this stuff is potent, so again, go light). I let this cook down for a couple of minutes to drive off some of the moisture.

That's when it's time to add the eggs. There are two ways to do this: my way and my wife's way, the latter of which I typically use because it's just easier. "My way" is the proper French way: break the eggs into a bowl, lightly salt them and season them otherwise, whisk until smooth and no longer stringy, then add to the pan). "My wife's way" is to crack the eggs straight into the pan and scramble them there. That gives a nice mixture of fried egg-whites taste with scrambled eggs and is quicker while requiring less cleanup. It's also less proper and results in less fluffy eggs. It's your call. Seriously, it doesn't matter much. When I use my wife's way, I lower the temperature of the pan seriously for the egg-cracking part of the process so they don't fry too much and then raise it again once I've lightly salted the egss and mixed them around fairly well in the pan. Then I scrambled the eggs until they were pretty much done and added the sesame seeds and a very light dusting of Chinese five spice. After a quick stir and another minute to dry them out some more (I prefer my scrambles dry to wet) and mix the ingredients, I served them up.

It came out quite nicely... well enough, in fact, that I was strongly encouraged to rush in here and add it to the blog. Enjoy!

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