Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Sweet Corn, Shiitake Mushroom and Arugula Sauté – Why does it taste like truffles?

Before I get into this recipe, and how it came to be, we have to talk about a somewhat shocking ingredient choice I made. Yes, in the middle of summer, I filmed an amazingly delicious sweet corn recipe…and used frozen corn! I already had the shiitake mushrooms and arugula for this dish, and was just about to go out and get some delicious fresh, just picked, sweet corn at the local produce market when I made the mistake of opening the freezer.

There it was, a bag a sweet corn. It had been in there for a while, so I was sure it was freezer-burned and I would just chuck it out and go. Unfortunately, I checked it and it was fine. Damn. I thought I better taste it; it’s probably not sweet. It was really sweet. Damn. So I decided to be a good, frugal Chef and use it for this recipe. The good news for you is this was so delicious with frozen corn, I can only imagine how incredible it’s going to be with freshly shucked corn!

I had this combo as a side vegetable recently and found it a very interesting combination of flavors. The earthy mushrooms, sweet corn, and slightly bitter Arugula mixed wonderfully together. In fact, as I enjoyed it with some grilled chicken, I kept smelling and tasting truffles. There was something about these three ingredients that combined to produce a truffle like flavor profile. Maybe my molecular gastronomy friends can explain why this was.

I realize that shiitake and truffles are both fungi, but it was more than that. In any case, it was really good, and I’m sure you are going to enjoy this simple and tasty vegetable dish. You vegetarians can add vegetable stock instead of chicken of course. On the other end of the spectrum, you omnivores may want to think about starting this with a little bit of bacon, before adding the mushrooms. Either way, enjoy!

2 cups fresh corn
2 cups sliced fresh shiitake mushrooms
large handful of arugula
1 clove garlic
1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
1 tbl olive oil
1/2 tsp butter
salt and pepper to taste


Linasolopoesie said...


Chef John said...

Any Italian readers can translate this?

Anonymous said...

nice recipe, I love your veggie dishes. thanks.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the vegetable dish! It's so hard for me to find a good simple vegetable dish that doesn't take a whole lot of ingredients/preparation.

Anonymous said...

Hi chef :)
I always enjoy watching your video on Youtube, yea this was the first time for me to visit here your website. I had always wanted to cook what you show here but didnt have chance and some ingredients or spices and maybe because of the lack of my imagination what to replace those I dont get here. However todays recipe was something familiar... yes Shiitake :) I do love Shiitake. so I decided to try this recipe myself today :)
I knew that I had frozen corn in the frege abd dried shiitake(I prefer dried one cuz of its strong flavor and easy to stock). but I dont have arugula... so I used Shunkiku(I think this is kind of japanese harb and that its flower is cute). I also used sea weed soup stock instead of chikin stock and add the Shiitake stock that I got when I soaked dried shiitake before I cooked. Yes, it was easy :) and tasted great. Very interesting mix of the flavors :) very interesting. hehe its on my side vegee recipe list now. Thank you soooo much. I really enjoyed.

Muji from Japan.

Anonymous said...

I made this dish last night using 4 cobs of very fresh sweet corn but I had to substitute portobello mushrooms for the shitake type which my local market doesn't carry. My girlfriend and I emjoyed it very much. We would serve this dish to company, a very different combination that we feel almost everyone would enjoy.

Anonymous said...

Chef John,

Thanks for another great recipe! Wonderful combination of ingredients. Really enjoyed this one. I had it as a side with some delcious baked salmon. Yummy! Oh yeah the Italian lady said best wishes and happy ferragosto which is the mid-august holiday in Italy.

Unknown said...

Hi Chef John,
I'm a subscriber on YouTube and have been making your recipes for months now. This was the first definite MISS out of everything I've tried so far. The shiitakes practically burned in the pan! I used the same amount of oil and butter on high heat. The flavor wasn't meaty, it was smokey. Way too smokey. I have the same saute pan as you and it needs a good soaking now. What went wrong?

Chef John said...

From the sounds of things the pans was just too hot. I said high heat, but of course thats relative term depending on the stove (mine's actually kind of wimpy) Also, did you add the pinch of salt? that cause the hushrooms to give up water and helps things. Also my pan is an extremely thick copper bottom pan really evens out the heat. If you have a thinner SS pan that also could have caused hot spots. Its really hard to tell HOW it happened exactly, but WHAT happened was that somehow the mushrooms burned. Next time (i hope there is a next time!) Try a little lower heat and dont cook them as long. You can taste them as you go. When they are golden brown and "meaty" add the rest. Good luck!!

Blood Red Roses said...

speaking of truffles. I went a bar in DC where they served Fries with truffle oil (only 3 bucks too for a big basket!) I thought such a rarity deserved a shot. It was perfectly salted and really interesting. However I can't describe the flavor, certainly not mushroom like though. No katsup needed.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this recipe. I had a similar, fabulous, dish like this in a tiny restaurant in Beijing once and have always wanted to recreate it. Their version had shiitakes, but no greens. Instead, they sprinkled on some toasted pinenuts, which looked like the corn. So simple but so delicious -- and my first taste of authentic Chinese food. Oboy.

Shelley in St. Louis

ChefJohn'sRealBiggestFan said...

Hey Chef John-- can u make some more buttery, garlicky salmon recipes? i'm always looking for those!