The Tip For Getting The Most Flavor Out Of Shiitake Mushrooms

Shiitake mushrooms are kitchen workhorses that don't get to shine too often. They provide incredible depth of flavor, a meaty texture, and a sweet earthiness that heightens almost any savory dish. While mushrooms are rightfully prized for their versatility, they deserve time in the spotlight. One way to make them stand out is by adding pickled shiitake mushrooms to your meals.

You can use fresh or dry mushrooms for quick pickling, but you'll have to rehydrate the latter in hot water, straining out any sandy residue that rests at the bottom of the liquid. Trim the tough ends of the stems and cut the mushrooms into quarters. Then, simply roast or simmer the mushrooms until cooked through. 

Separately, simmer salt, sugar, vinegar, and water until the solids dissolve. Pour the hot liquid over the mushrooms along with whatever herbs and spices you desire (garlic, thyme, bay leaves, and peppercorns are some great options). Let the contents cool and keep them in the fridge for at least a few hours before consuming, or leave them overnight for better results. They will last about a month in the fridge, but you'll finish them off long before then because they are a great addition to countless dishes.

These general pickling guidelines are easily adaptable to all kinds of variations. Use a variety of vinegars for different flavor profiles and sub soy sauce or fish sauce for the salt. Add other seasonings and aromatics, or use a different type of mushroom entirely. 

How to use pickled mushrooms

Pickled shiitakes bring the same salty, punchy element as other pickled vegetables, so that's a great place to start when considering how to use them. They'll work double duty as a burger or sandwich topping, bringing the earthy unctiousness of mushrooms and the bright tang of pickles. Meanwhile, they make a flavorful umami bomb when tossed in a bean or lentil salad or simply layered on bread for a delicious pickled mushroom toast.

Depending on how you season your pickled mushrooms, they can be a punchy statement piece in all kinds of recipes. If your mushrooms are seasoned with peppercorns and soy sauce, mix them in garlic scallion noodles. If you used garlic and thyme, they'll be a memorable addition to a pizza. The pickled fungi can also be used as a briny ingredient to upgrade jarred sauce. Consider pickled mushrooms your shortcut to making your standby dishes new again.