The Mushroom Council is thrilled to have Monica Pope as a member of our Chef Advisory Panel. Her restaurant t’afia in Houston features coastal Mediterranean cuisine inspired by local ingredients. It also features lots and lots of mushrooms.
Our colleague Danielle Wiley recently visited t’afia with a large group of mom bloggers. To read more about their dining adventure, check out this post on her site, Foodmomiac. We are also pleased to share one of Monica’s recipes. Featuring plump shiitakes, beef and balsamic vinegar, it is a veritable tribute to umami.
Balsamic Caramel Base
- 3 quarts vegetable, chicken or veal stock
- 3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 3/4 cup sweet soy sauce (kecap manis; see Note)
- 6 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon ginger, minced
- 1/4 cup black sesame seeds
- 1/4 cup white sesame seeds
- 1 1/2 teaspoons red chili flakes
- 1 sheet nori
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- Olive oil as needed
- 6 pounds beef tenderloin, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 1/2 pounds shiitake mushroom caps, roasted
- 3 pounds beets, roasted, diced
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 8 cups medium-grain sticky rice, cooked
- Shaved, unsweetened coconut, toasted, for garnish
- Fresh chives, minced, for garnish
- For Balsamic Caramel Base: Bring stock, vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, garlic and ginger to a boil in pot. Set aside. (Makes about 14 cups)
- For Gomaishio: Toast nori in dry pan, then pulse it in a spice grinder or food processor until minced. Mix with sesame seeds, chili and salt. (Makes about 1 1/2 cups)
- For each serving, to order: Heat dash of oil in sauté pan. Sear 4 ounces of beef to brown, remove from pan. Add 1/2 cup Balsamic Caramel Base, 1 ounce of mushrooms and 2 ounces of beets. Swirl in 1 tablespoon butter, boil until it reaches sauce consistency. Add back the beef to warm through. Plate 1 cup sticky rice, top with beef and sauce mixture. Garnish with 1 teaspoon gomaishio, dash of toasted coconut and chives.
Note: If unable to find kecap manis, substitute 3/4 cup regular soy sauce, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 3 tablespoons molasses and 1 or 2 star anise pods.