This warm mushroom salad is tossed with bitter greens and a ginger sesame dressing, and is a perfect way to use wild, homegrown, and specialty mushrooms.
This past spring, it seemed like everyone I knew was foraging for morrel mushrooms.
And I so badly wanted to join them.
One day I will, but for now, I've been happily growing blue oyster mushrooms from Smallhold in my kitchen.
And guys, my oyster mushrooms quickly became massive.
Smallhold isn't shipping their mushrooms nationwide anymore, but you can still buy them at Whole Foods.
And then, before I knew what was happening, my mushroom kit grew a whole new batch of oyster mushrooms. This thing is incredible.
I found myself with so many of these specialty 'shrooms that I had a (pretty awesome) opportunity to do something I'd normally hesitate to do with such a pricey ingredient.
Test and experiment.
My friend Melanie sent me this Japanese mushroom salad recipe from Just One Cookbook, and I quickly fell in love with it.
This mushroom salad is adapted from the Just One Cookbook recipe. It's slightly less authentic (I'll call it Japanese-inspired), and uses ingredients that were easier for me to find locally.
What Kind of Mushrooms Can I Use for This Salad?
If you've got access to specialty or wild mushrooms (like oyster), this is a perfect salad to use them in.
The salad dressing will enhance the mushroom flavors and make them taste their best.
You can also use easier to find shiitake or crimini mushrooms (baby bella), or a mixture of different types of mushrooms.
That said, I do not recommend using white button mushrooms, because they just don't have a lot of flavor.
Can I Skip the Sesame Oil?
I think the toasted sesame oil is pretty important in this recipe.
You don't use much of it, but it adds a lot of flavor. Use it if possible.
I used this Napa Valley toasted sesame oil.
Can I Skip the Ginger Syrup in This Mushroom Salad?
Yes, you can!
If you don't have ginger syrup on hand, swap it for grated ginger and a little sugar.
I do realize that ginger syrup is not a pantry staple, but it's a pretty delicious sweetener to have on hand.
How to Make Ginger Sesame Dressing
Start by toasting sesame seeds.
Place them in a dry pan and heat until they turn golden.
Watch them closely, there's a fine line between toasted and burnt seeds.
Next, you've got two (or actually, three) options.
If you own a mortar and pestle, lightly crush the seeds until they break apart, and then whisk them into the rest of the salad dressing ingredients.
Or, add the seeds and all the dressing ingredients into a blender or food processor and blend on high. This works best in a small blender or food processor, because you're only using a little bit of liquid.
The third option is to skip this step altogether. Your dressing will taste amazing, but it will be thinner and have less texture.
How to Make a Warm Mushroom Salad
Next, prepare the mushrooms by tearing them (or slicing them) into small pieces.
Add them to a hot pan with oil and salt.
You're not browning the mushrooms, so it's okay if they're overlapping a little. Or a lot.
Cook the mushrooms for a few minutes until they begin to wilt.
Next, add the rice vinegar and cover the pan to let the mushrooms steam for two minutes.
Add the dressing and the toasted sesame oil.
Stir it all together.
Add your bitter greens.
Cover the pan until they wilt.
Serve the mushroom salad while it's still warm. It pairs perfectly with these seared ahi tuna steaks with ginger sauce!
Mushroom Salad with Ginger Sesame Dressing
Ginger Sesame Dressing:
- 8 ounces mushrooms, such as oyster, enoki, shiitake, or crimini (baby bella)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 2 ounces bitter greens (like kale, baby kale, watercress, or arugula), stems removed + roughly chopped 2 large handfuls of greens
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil Or swap regular sesame oil
Make the Dressing:
- Toast the sesame seeds in a dry pan over medium-low heat. Stir often for 3-5 minutes, and turn off the heat when the sesame seeds turn a pale golden color.Make sure to keep a close eye on the seeds while toasting. They'll go from perfect to burnt very quickly.
- Pick either method below to prepare the dressing:Mortar + Pestle: Lightly crush the toasted sesame seeds using a mortar + pestle. Whisk together the seeds with the lemon juice, rice vinegar, ginger syrup, and soy sauce.Blender or Food Processor: Add the toasted seeds, lemon juice, rice vinegar, ginger syrup, and soy sauce to a blender or food processor and blend on high to crush some of the seeds. This method works best with a small blender basin instead of a large basin.Don't have a blender, food processor, or a mortar + pestle? You can skip this step. Your dressing will be slightly thinner.
- Prepare mushrooms by tearing into small pieces. (Alternatively, slice them.) If your mushrooms have a tough stem, discard and compost the stem.
- Heat the oil in a large pan over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the mushrooms and salt. Gently stir the mushrooms for 2-3 minutes until the mushrooms are lightly wilted.
- Lower heat to medium-low. Add the rice vinegar, and cover the pan. Steam for 2 minutes.
- Add the sesame dressing. Use a rubber spatula to scrape all the dressing into the pan.Add the sesame oil and stir into the mushrooms.
- Add the bitter greens and cover the pan until wilted. If using very tender greens, they will wilt almost immediately. If using tougher greens (like kale), the greens should wilt within 1-2 minutes.Turn off the heat and serve the mushroom salad while it's still warm.