I’m not the first person to ever make delicious roasted pork belly with caramelized onions. Nor the first to (finally) make my sticky rice work properly. Definitely not the first to make crispy crunchy pig skin. So last night’s dinner was quite tasty, one of the best I’ve made in a while, it wasn’t necessarily going to be overly blog-worthy. Until I realized it really needed more vegetables. And the vegetable turned out to be the most original, blog-worthy dish I’ve made in a while.
But alas, I’d been out of town, so our options were sun-dried tomatos, capers, artichoke hearts and dehydrated mushrooms. My meal had a definite Asian bent (the pork was crusted with ginger and sichuan peppercorns) so the first couple of veg would have been odd. Mushrooms it was. When you rehydrate the dehydrated mushrooms (which you can get at any Asian food mart and they keep forever), they don’t have the greatest texture, so I usually chop them into soup or add to a stir-fry, neither of which was going to work for this meal. Since the oven was already on, I decided to use the heat to help me. I rehydrated them (15 minutes in a warm water bath) and cut off the stems. Why cut off the stems? I don’t know. My Chinese roommate in college always did it. Why did she do it? Her mother told her to. Lay them out on a baking try (I used my new silpat for the first time) and drizzle with olive oil, salt, pepper and if you are me, red chile flakes. I threw them all in the oven (which was already happily roasting at 425) for…I have no idea how long it was. Maybe 20 minutes? But you should be able to tell by feeling them if they have gotten crunchy on the outside.
They had snap to them, that mouth-watering mushroom flavor, savory and salty. As I said when we finished them up, I will definitely make those again.