Sunday, March 3, 2013

Dirty Fried Rice + Mushroom "Scallops" + Creole Coconut Sauce

The king oyster mushroom "scallop" may be The Chubby Vegetarian's most famous dish. It has been served in not one, but two of Memphis' finest restaurants. Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen served it at their annual all-vegetarian "No-Menu" Monday, a dinner where what you eat is up to the whim of the chefs. It's always wonderful and tasty. They called my dish TCV Scallop. I was so, so flattered. The faux scallop has also been spotted at Wally Joe's Acre Restaurant in East Memphis as a garnish on one of their beautifully plated entrees. I borrow enough from the excellent ideas of all these guys, so I am happy to have something to give back.

This is my new way to do it. I took the classic flavor New Orleans-style dirty rice and made it into fried rice for the base of this dish. This part alone is great for a light meal or lunch, but adding the wonderfully meaty king oyster mushroom scallops and the rich Creole Coconut Sauce on top make this dish truly special and really unique.

King oyster mushrooms are really easy to find nowadays. Whole Foods always carries them -- along with a variety of other cool mushrooms -- in the produce department. If you are feeling adventuresome, head out to the nearest Asian grocery. They will have huge king oyster mushrooms.

Dirty Fried Rice + Mushroom "Scallops" + Creole Coconut Sauce
(serves 4) 

Dirty Fried Rice (recipe follows)
1 pound king oyster mushrooms
1 can light coconut milk
1 teaspoon Old Bay
1 tablespoon creole mustard
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon oil
1 clove garlic (minced or micro-planed)
sea salt and cracked black pepper (to taste)
celery leaves and fresh thyme (to garnish)

First, prepare Dirty Fried Rice according to the recipe below. Next, cut king oyster mushrooms into 3/4 inch rounds to resemble sea scallops. You should end up with about 15 slices (more if your mushrooms were smaller). Place slices into a medium dish or a bowl and cover with the coconut milk. The richness of the coconut milk is essential to the flavor and texture of this dish. Allow mushroom slices to marinade in the coconut milk for at least 20 minutes and up to an hour. Fish the mushrooms out and lay them onto a clean dish towel. Reserve one cup of the coconut milk to be used in the sauce. Dry both sides of the mushroom and sprinkle generously with Old Bay seasoning. Heat a 10-inch frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the butter and oil. Once the butter has melted, cook the mushrooms in two batches. Sear each side for 3-4 minutes or until nicely browned. Drain mushrooms on a paper towel and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Pour off excess fat from the pan and into an old coffee can or milk carton. Do not scrape out the bits of brown (fond) that are stuck to the bottom of the pan. Immediately add the reserved cup of coconut milk, mustard, and garlic. Stir with a whisk over medium heat until heated through.

To assemble the dish, place 1 1/2 cups Dirty Fried Rice on a plate and top with three mushroom scallops and a tablespoon of the creole coconut sauce. Garnish with celery leaves and fresh thyme.

Dirty Fried Rice

2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 cup white rice (I like jasmine rice.)
1/2 cup celery (small dice)

1/2 cup carrot (small dice)
1/2 cup shallot (small dice)
1/4 cup dry-packed sun-dried tomato (small dice)
1 cup button mushroom (about 5, 
small dice)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 teaspoon rubbed sage
scant 1/8 teaspoon clove

1/4 teaspoon liquid smoke
3 tablespoons oil
2 eggs (beaten)
2 tablespoons soy sauce (I like Braggs.)

Bring the broth and tomato paste up to a boil in a large soup pot. Add the rice, cover the pot, reduce the heat to low. Allow it to cook for 20 minutes. Remove the lid and allow rice to cool completely; this will take another 20 minutes -- if you try to make fried rice with warm rice, you will end up with a gummy mess! 

In a large mixing bowl, toss together the celery, carrot, shallot, sun-dried tomato, mushrooms, garlic powder, thyme, crushed red pepper, sage, clove, and liquid smoke. If you have a wok, now is the time to use it. Place the wok (or your largest frying pan) over high heat. Allow the wok to get hot without anything in it. This should talk 3 minutes or so. Add the canola oil. Once it starts to smoke, gently pour the beaten egg into the hot oil; this is cool to watch. Once it it almost dry (this only take a few seconds), add the vegetable mixture and toss it around the pan like crazy using a large serving spoon. Use the spoon to break the egg up as you stir. Allow vegetables to cook for two to three minutes or until they start to take on some color and then add the rice. Mix it all up and add the soy sauce. Cook another two to three minutes or until everything is heated through. Remove from heat and cover with a large lid to keep rice warm while you cook the other components of the dish.


Jennifer said...

Mmmmm, I think I will make this. Thanks!

The Cozy Herbivore said...

May I take a moment to gush? Okay, here goes:

I absolutely LOVE your blog. I was just reading through your posts, shaking my head at the wonderful flavors and dishes you come up with. Truly amazing and inspiring. I am so excited for your cookbook to come out!

Anyway, thank you for consistently featuring such luscious, flavorful vegetarian food.

The Chubby Vegetarian said...

Aw, thanks, TCH! We are thrilled!


blank said...

This is going to be my Valentine's dinner. Wish me luck folks :)

The Chubby Vegetarian said...

You can make the fried rice ahead of time, so all you have to do is to sear the "scallops" and make the very quick sauce come dinner time.

Rose said...

Daaaaang this looks amazing!

tenderb said...

Nice...I can't wait to try this one.

nugili hayat said...

himm yummy..

Anonymous said...

Umm. Just discovered you today. Making this tonight. Excited! xo dina