Not an easy thing to do, actually, as shellfish is a personal favorite. However, as wonderful as the shrimp is in today’s attempt, the shitake mushrooms are even better. By some degree. In fact, the dish would be just as scrumptious, just as amazing, with no shrimp and a double serving of mushrooms. Shocking, but true.
That’s not to disparage the shellfish, which is succulent, mild and flavorful. It’s just that the mushrooms make an even greater claim to being ambrosia, food of the gods. Of course, shitakes are favored too, which is why the recipe for Shitake, Shrimp and Snow Pea Stir-Fry was flagged when it was spotlighted in the late Everyday Food magazine, November 2011 issue.
Back then, there was no way of knowing how special the mushrooms would be, else it wouldn’t have taken nearly a decade to discover their magnificence. Surprisingly, not much trouble was taken to prepare them. After being sautéed until tender in peanut oil, the shitakes are stir-fried with a little rice wine vinegar and soy sauce, infused with garlic and grated ginger.
The Japanese must’ve had shitakes in mind when they coined the word umami to describe something sufficiently warming and savory to have a whole taste category of its own. When you add soy sauce to the mushrooms, the umami is off the charts. The theme is accented and is given greater depth when garlic and ginger add a bit of a tingle. There’s a lingering sweetness as well, which the snow peas enhance.
As a matter of fact, here are some peas now, happy to oblige:
As mentioned, the shrimp is really nice too, and in any other dish, it’d be the main draw. Just not here, where the mushrooms rise to the occasion. To have both of them together, utterly magnificent. Even if the shellfish finds itself in the unusual position of settling for the silver medal.
Shitake, Shrimp, and Snow Pea Stir-Fry
- 1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon freshly-grated ginger
- 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil (*1)
- 1 pound shitake mushrooms, stemmed and quartered
- 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 4 ounces of snow peas, trimmed
- 2 scallion greens, chopped
In a small bowl, combine the garlic, soy sauce, rice vinegar, ginger and red pepper flakes. Set aside mixture.
In a wok set over medium-high flame, heat the oil until it shimmers. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring, until just tender, about five minutes. Stir in the garlic mixture and cook for another minute. Add the shrimp and snow peas and cook, stirring frequently, until the shrimp is opaque throughout, about four minutes.
Serve over cooked rice and garnish with scallion greens.
1 – As those who know are aware, I prefer to use peanut oil for Asian (or Asian-inspired) dishes. This is just such a case. In this particular instance, peanut oil adds a nice taste to the mushrooms too.