A couple of weeks ago my friends Scott & Steph hosted a taco party for friends. Everybody brought something to eat on or with tacos, and we had a great time. Also I ate waaaaay too much. I made crispy mushrooms with lime (as a vegetarian filling), fried plantains, and a roasted tomatillo salsa. Find the recipes after the jump.
Crispy Mushrooms With Lime
The trick to cooking mushrooms is to let them cook for a long, long time, until they get really brown and crispy. I started with about two pounds of oyster mushrooms, and at the end it cooked down to less than a pound. I chopped the mushrooms into small pieces and added it to some heated olive oil. I had so much mushroom I had to use two pans; it’s important not to overcrowd the pan, because the mushrooms won’t brown properly if you do. Don’t add salt, or anything else, just let the mushrooms cook. Stir them only once in a while; the less you touch them, the better they will brown. When they are dark brown and crispy, add salt to taste, some cumin and coriander, and the juice of a lime. Be prepared for the lime juice to sizzle loudly in the pan. Stir to coat everything, and then you’re done. Trust me, these are really delicious.
Fried plantains are pretty easy, though there are a few steps involved. The end result is totally worth the effort. I use sweet yellow and brown plantains for this, but I’m sure the starchier green ones would work just as well. Start by peeling the plantains, which (unlike bananas) you will probably need a knife to start. Then cut the plantains into sections about an inch thick. Heat some oil in a wide pan, and add the segments of plantains. Cook them over medium heat, and flip them over when the first side browns. When the second side is browned remove them from the pan onto a paper towel. Season them with a little bit of salt. Now the fun part: using the flat side of your knife, squash each segment so that they’re only half an inch thick. When you’ve flattened all of the plantains, heat the oil again and add the plantains back to the pan. Let them get a little crispy on each side, then remove from the pan and sprinkle with a little bit more salt.
Roasted Tomatillo Salsa
Start with six tomatillos, with the papery skin removed, and two jalapenos (optional, I guess). Rinse them, but don’t worry about drying them well. Drizzle on some olive oil and sprinkle them with salt. Put them in a 400 degree oven (I used my cast iron pan, but you can use any baking dish) for about half an hour. They should be soft and the tomatillos will probably be bursting. Scrape everything into a blender (I actually used my immersion blender), add the juice of a lime, a pinch of salt, and some more olive oil, then blend until smooth.