Japanese mushrooms, Chinese cabbage and Mexican jalapenos fused together by culinary blogger and author Michael Natkin in a tasty taco that's a nutritious and delicious Healthy Dish.
Shiitake Tacos with Asian Pear Slaw
- Makes 8 tacos
- 30 minutes
I love to make up taco combinations using a substantial component like shiitake mushrooms, contrasted with a bright fresh slaw. Serve these up with big plates of refried beans, Mexican rice (or the Non-Traditional Arroz Verde on page 000), and homemade guacamole for a feast that is only a bit more work than ordinary “taco night” but a lot more interesting.
The technique of dry-roasting the jalapeño peppers and garlic for these tacos is common in Mexican cuisine. It is a quick way of both mellowing and concentrating the flavors. I highly recommend wearing disposable rubber gloves when seeding and chopping the jalapeños, to avoid the risk of having your hands burn later or, worse, transferring the capsaicin to your eyes.
The bok choy in this recipe is the full-grown vegetable, usually about 10 to 12 inches long, with dark green leaves; don’t substitute baby bok choy.
You can take this same Asian pear slaw and use it as a condiment for other dishes. Add a little toasted sesame oil if you are serving it as part of an Asian meal.
FOR THE FILLING
4 jalapeño peppers
6 garlic cloves (not peeled)
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 white onion, diced
1 pound fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, quartered
Two-thirds of a head of bok choy, carefully washed and cut into 1-inch slices
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
FOR THE SLAW
Juice of 1 lime
1 Asian pear
1/3 cup red onion, thinly sliced
A handful fresh cilantro leaves
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
16 (6-inch) soft corn tortillas
1. For the filling: Place a large skillet (preferably cast iron) over medium-high heat. Without adding any oil, dry-roast the jalapeños and unpeeled garlic cloves until blistered and charred, about 8 minutes, turning a couple of times. When the jalapeños are cool enough to handle, remove and discard the stems. Remove the seeds and ribs if you want a milder dish, then cut the peppers into thin slices. Remove the skin from the garlic cloves and roughly chop.
2. Return the skillet to high heat. Add the oil and, when it is shimmering, add the white onion. Sauté until moderately browned, about 5 minutes. Add the shiitakes and sauté until the shiitakes begin to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the roasted jalapeños, roasted garlic, bok choy, salt, cumin, and a pinch of cinnamon. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the leaves of the bok choy have wilted and the stems are mostly tender but still have a bit of a bite, about 6 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
3. For the slaw: Put the lime juice into a small bowl. Peel, quarter, and core the Asian pear. Using a mandoline or a knife, julienne the Asian pear, tossing with the lime juice as soon as it’s cut so it doesn’t brown. Add the red onion, cilantro, and salt.
4. To serve: Wrap the corn tortillas in a damp, clean dish towel and microwave until soft and steaming, about 2 minutes. Make 8 stacks of 2 tortillas each. Top each pair of tortillas with a big spoonful of the filling, and a smaller spoonful of the slaw. Serve immediately.
(Special thanks to Seattle's Book Larder for hosting the video shoot.)