Perfectly meaty mushroom tacos with plump Wood Ear & sharp Shiitake Fungi
This rather unusual recipe came to me in a waking dream. One morning I got out of bed with the most visceral craving for sweet potato mash with sautéed mushrooms tacos. I’d never heard of such a thing, but I could almost taste the divinely conceived combination.
I got to work and chose to combine Wood Ear mushrooms for their meaty texture and subtle flavor with the more expensive and sharp tasting Shiitake. Seasoned with the Mexican spice mix I often use on shredded chicken, the elements came together better than I even imagined–resulting in the perfect texture and flavor!
As you’ve probably gathered, the star of this recipe is the Wood Ear & Shiitake Mushroom sauté. I point this out for two reasons:
- Although I love the inclusion of the Japanese Sweet Potato Mash, it is totally optional. The tacos are perfect with or without the mash.
- As with most of my recipes, there’s an element of versatility that should be noted! The mushroom sauté can be made on it’s own and served in any number of meal combinations:
- Over mashed potatoes, or sweet potatoes.
- Over wilted hearty greens, or fresh salad greens.
- Over meat or fish.
- On toast, or with grains.
- With scrambled eggs, or in a frittata.
You get the picture. The Wood Ear & Shiitake Mushroom sauté can enjoy a diverse life beyond it’s service as taco filing–a good reason to double this recipe for left overs! But if tacos are your thing, regardless of vegetarian or carnivore preferences, you’re sure to love this recipe.
This recipe is just for the tortillas and taco filling. Don’t forget to make a batch of guacamole and salsa! I strongly urge you to try my recipe for the world’s best guacamole, because these mushrooms deserve nothing less.
The Persimmon & Jalapeño Salsa is fabulous, but you can fudge it if you can’t find persimmons. I live in the unusual climate of southern California after all, and not all of you will have access to persimmons this time of year. See my tips below.
- Lip-Smacking Good Guacamole
- Persimmon & Jalapeño Salsa
- Omit the pomegranate for serving with tacos
- If you can’t find persimmons, sub with mango
The best order of things to make this meal happen in under an hour is to get the sweet potato and tortillas cooking first. You should be able to get both on the stove in about 15 minutes prep time. Turn your oven to 200°F / 90°C. Once both tortillas and potatoes are done, pop them into the oven (covered) to stay warm as you continue to work on the mushrooms.
Wood Ear & Shiitake Mushroom Sauté
Buy fresh mushrooms that look plump and healthy. For Shiitake, the underside of the mushroom cap should be free of excessive browning and the flesh should be firm, not mushy. The Wood Ear, also known as Cloud Ear, Tree Ear and Black Fungus, should not smell fishy, or be too sticky or clumped together. See the first photo for a visual.
Chipotle Chili is the only uncommon spice that you’ll need to plan on getting in advance. Although you could sub it with the more common plain chili seasoning, I strongly urge you to invest the time into getting this incredible spice. Ground Chipotle Chili is milder in heat and has a much more complex flavor, imbuing the dish with both smokey and earthy notes. It’s a spice I use frequently. I’m sure you’ll find other uses for it too.
Be sure to follow my simple instructions to-a-T for the perfect mushroom sauté. It’s important that you avoid overcooking the precious fungi. Both these mushroom varieties are packed with nutrients that you want to preserve. The 7 minute cooking time with oil and a couple table spoons of water allows for fully cooked mushrooms, while preserving those vital nutrients.
You’ll need to scrape the bottom of the pan quite a few times to avoid burning your ingredients. Use a flat edged wooden spatula to scrape the bottoms of your enamel, cast iron or stainless steel pan.
Japanese Sweet Potato Mash
The Japanese variety of sweet potato has a purple skin and white flesh. With its delicious waxy texture, it doesn’t require butter when mashed and the more fragrant and subtle flavor is a better pairing for mushrooms than the ultra sweet pink variety. But if you can’t get your hands on this slightly less common sweet potato, simply sub with another variety and see how you like it.
I loved the addition of sweet potato, but my husband who is not as keen on sweet potatoes in general preferred the tacos without. If you opt to skip the sweet potatoes, you might consider topping the mushrooms with grated cheese!
Be sure to get Non-GMO, organic tortillas. Follow the instructions for steam warming and serve tortillas either wrapped in the towel on a plate, or in a lead-free Tortilla Warmer. You can also use one of the beautiful JIA ceramic + cedar wood steamer pots! The second step for frying each tortilla is optional, but a tasty touch. Practically speaking, this extra step is manageable with a small party of 2-3 people.
Serve guacamole, salsa and the Japanese Sweet Potato Mash in communal bowls, along with a pinch bowl of chopped cilantro. This way everyone at the table can put together their own perfectly curated tacos.
That’s it for my tips! For all this advice, it’s actually a very simple and fairly quick recipe! Enjoy!