I’m not really a salad kind of girl. I like salad, but I don’t tend to order them or eat them a lot, except at home. Usually its just greens, a fruit, a nut, and a home made honey mustard vinaigrette.
Salad recipes don’t really call to me, so I wasn’t too excited by the Roasted Mushroom Salad with braised pistachios, pickled sunchokes and radishes. I love mushrooms and pistachios are one of my favourite nuts, but for some reason I wasn’t feeling it.
The Mushroom salad is solid: vinegary, buttery mushrooms, a purée of dashi braised pistachio nuts, crisp, peppery radishes and a tart-sweet crunch thanks to the pickled sunchokes. Maybe I was expecting too much, but this salad fell a little flat.
The one bright spot was the pistachio purée, a kind of hummus-like purée using dashi braised pistachios instead of chickpeas. Earthy, nutty, and creamy, I can totally see myself eating the pistachio purée with tortilla chips or flat bread.
To make the purée, you braise pistachios in dashi and mirin for an hour and then blend the cooked nuts with 1/2 cup of water. I should have blended the nuts on their own then slowly added the water to process into the “smooth, thick, creamy, peanut butter-like texture” that Chang is looking for. Adding the 1/2 cup of water all at once made my sauce thin and watery. To get the right consistency, I ended up straining some of the water out using a cheesecloth.
The rest of the recipe was pretty straightforward: radishes were quick pickled, sunchokes pickle-pickled, mushrooms pan-roasted with butter and sherry vinegar. It was good, but this is probably one of the few recipes that I won’t be visiting again.