Look, I’ll be honest with you from the start. I was never in to football. I don’t follow the teams throughout the season, I don’t even actually know when the season starts, and you’re honestly lucky if I even know who’s playing in the Super Bowl.
What I do love are the snacks the big game brings with it. The glutinous, cheesy, salty goodness that is synonymous with Super Bowl Sunday. The excuse to spend a day on the couch with your friends, actually watching the commercials, and eating things that make you shudder on the inside, but taste oh so good going down.
This year is no exception, and I haven’t had potato skins in I don’t know how long. Now, I can fake it seven ways from Sunday with everything that’s out on the market right now, but what if I want some smokey, salty goodness that I can actually recognize? The answer? Shiitake bacon. I was introduced to this wonder by serendipitous accident one fine Sunday afternoon. Salty, chewy, almost caramel-y bits of it hidden in my salad, not really mushroom, and not really bacon, but hitting all the right notes in between. This is where your potato skins start, but certainly not where they end.
- 1 pint Shiitake mushrooms
- 1/4 cup Olive oil
- 1/4 cup Soy sauce
- 1 tsp Toasted sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon Maple syrup
- Dash of Liquid smoke or smoked paprika
- Sprinkle of salt
Preheat your oven to 375° F. Mix the olive oil, soy sauce, sesame oil, maple syrup, and liquid smoke/smoked paprika together and set aside in a small baking dish.
Wipe your mushrooms clean with paper towel, and remove and discard the stems. Thinly slice the mushroom caps, you want them to be able to crisp up when they’re baked. If you make them too thick, they’ll be under done, too thin, and they can get a little char; which honestly, I rather like.
Place the mushrooms in the dish with your marinade, and make sure all the slices can have a nice dip in the pool.
Leave them for at least 15 minutes. The longer they sit in the mahogany goodness, the more intense they’ll be. I wouldn’t go more than 25 minutes though, that’s too far down the rabbit hole.
Let’s not forget about the potato part of your potato skins. While mushrooms are marinating, you have the opportunity to multitask! Take a couple of russet potatoes, and let me show you the easy way out.Take out your aggression by stabbing those tubers with a fork all around, so that the steam can escape. If you’ve got some time, coat these in olive oil, and roast in your oven, directly on the rack and skip the tinfoil, for 40 minutes to an hour at 400° F.
If you’re a bit impatient (and who would blame you), put them on a microwave safe plate, and zap them in your microwave in 5 minute intervals. When you can easily stick a fork into the middle, they’re ready. When your mushrooms are ready to go, arrange them on a parchment lined baking sheet, and dab away the excess marinade.
Bake these for 15-20 minutes, but keep your eye on them! Depending on your knife skills, they could get darker fast.
I’ve always been a fan of char, mine came out like this:
Set your crispy goodness aside and turn your attention to your slightly-cooled-so-that-you-can-handle-them potatoes. Cut them in half and scoop out a bit of the flesh in the middle to make a trench. Arrange your potatoes on a lined baking sheet and fill with:
- Daiya Cheddar Style Shreds
- Chopped scallions
- Diced jalapeños
- and of course, your Shiitake bacon
Pop these under the broiler until the cheese is melted and bubbly, and your potato is the belle of the ball. Football, that is.
Vanessa is a professional baker and blogger, regularly documenting her fight for all things vegan at Hungry Face Bakery.
If you can’t tell already, Vanessa spends every waking moment, as well as everything in between, thinking about food. She can be found in international markets, or harvesting ingredients from her backyard. Nothing is sacred, and nothing is safe.
This is Vanessa’s first editorial for Crave Local.