Shiitake Mushrooms With Harissa Vinaigrette

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I saw this recipe in The Wall Street Journal a few weeks ago. I love mushrooms also I happened to have a tube of Harissa, which my husband, Eric, calls “The Ketchup of North Africa”.

Harissa, the Tunisian chili paste packed with spices and herbs, can add punch to all kinds of dishes. Harissa is available at some specialty foods stores and at Middle Eastern markets.

To save time, you can use a store-bought harissa and skip straight to the instructions for making the vinaigrette, which is what I did. The other liberty I took with this recipe was to use a combination of Shiitake and Crimini or Baby Bella mushrooms.

Shiitake Mushrooms With Harissa Vinaigrette
Linda Pugliese for The Wall Street Journal

Serves 4

For the harissa:
1 pint Fresno chilies
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp caraway seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
4 cloves garlic
½ tsp smoked paprika
1 Tbs olive oil
1 Tbs chopped mint
1 teaspoon lemon juice

For the vinaigrette:
1 Tbs harissa
¼ cup lemon juice
¼ cup lime juice
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
½ cup canola oil

For the mushrooms:
4 Tbs canola oil
1½ lbs shiitake mushrooms, trimmed
1½ tsp chopped garlic
1½ tsp chopped fresh thyme
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup cilantro leaves, roughly chopped

Make harissa: Place chilies under broiler and roast, turning frequently, until blistered and lightly charred all over, 6-8 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, cover and let steam 20 minutes. Meanwhile, in a skillet set over medium heat, toast coriander, caraway and cumin seeds until fragrant, 2 minutes. Grind toasted spices in a spice or coffee grinder. Once chilies have steamed, rub off skins. Place peeled chilies in a food processor along with ground spices, garlic, paprika, olive oil, mint and lemon juice, and blend to a paste. Remove harissa from food processor and set aside.

Make vinaigrette: In food processor, combine 1 tablespoon harissa, lemon and lime juices and blend to combine. With motor running, add olive and canola oils in a light stream, blending until emulsified.

Sauté mushrooms: In a heavy-bottomed skillet, heat canola oil over high heat until shimmering. Add shiitakes and sauté until browned and tender, about 2 minutes. Add garlic and thyme, stir to coat mushrooms and cook 2 minutes more. Transfer mixture to a bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Toss mushrooms with ¼ cup vinaigrette. Reserve remaining vinaigrette and harissa in airtight containers in the refrigerator for later use. Transfer dressed mushrooms to a serving bowl and garnish with cilantro.

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