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Interviewee: Chef Elliot Prag, Natural Gourmet Institute
ROASTED, CRISP SHITAKES
(aka Shitake “Bacon” by chef Elliot Prag at The Natural Gourmet Institute)
• 1⁄2 pound shitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
• 1⁄4 cup extra virgin olive oil
• 1 teaspoon sea salt
1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. In a bowl combine the mushrooms, oil, and salt.
3. Spread mushrooms on a parchment-lined baking sheet and place in oven.
4. Roast mushrooms until dry and crisp, stirring about every 10 minutes, approximately 45 minutes to one hour. (Oven temperatures may vary.)
The day I visited, several of his student chefs had tried it for the first time that morning and were raving to me about it. Prag says it’s especially popular among his vegan students who used to eat meat, but it’s also great for anyone who wants a low fat, low calorie alternative to bacon.
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The Natural Gourmet Institute offers classes for chefs and for the public. They also offer Friday night candlelit vegan dinners, which I plan on attending. If you’re crinkling your nose at the word vegan I can only say, as one who eats meat, try this recipe.
As I was leaving two of his student chefs, Patricia Bonavito and Colleen Henry, offered me some freshly whipped non-dairy ice cream made of coconut milk (another Prag recipe). I’m a die hard Ben and Jerry’s butter pecan fan, and a bit finicky, but I tried a spoonful.
“Mmmm, so THIS is vegan?” I asked. I can definitely handle more of this.
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