When chef Kerry Altiero joins us in the 207 kitchen, we never know what sort of happy craziness will ensue. Which is no surprise because the people who work with him at his restaurant, Café Miranda in Rockland, feel the same way.

Here’s the story behind the origin of the dish he made for us. “We have a vintage fan on the counter to circulate the air in the kitchen by the brick oven,” Kerry wrote in his cookbook, “The Best Comfort Food on the Planet.” “On a whim one night, I tossed a shiitake at the fan. As might have been expected, the blades sliced it up and sprayed mushroom all over the customers. It was a dumb thing to do, but we got a good story and a good name for a dish out of it.”

Shiitakes Have Hit the Fan

We have a vintage fan on the counter to circulate the air in the kitchen by the brick oven. On a whim one night, I tossed a shiitake at the fan. As might have been expected, the blades sliced it up and sprayed mushroom all over the customers. It was a dumb thing to do, but we got a good story and a good name for a dish out of it. 

This is a super tasty appetizer, with the meatiness of mushrooms and the richness of a marsala cream sauce. Serve it with a bottle of dry white wine and focaccia for mopping up every bit of the sauce. 

Serves 2

10 shiitake mushrooms, stemmed

¼ cup/33 g red onion, sliced

1 tbsp/15 ml butter

1 tbsp/15 ml olive oil

1 tsp garlic, minced

1 cup/30 g greens (this is good with frisée)

1 tbsp/15 ml dry marsala wine

½ cup/118 ml heavy cream

1 sprig French tarragon

Salt 

Coarsely ground black pepper

Preheat your oven to 400°F/204°C. 

In a 10-inch/25.5 cm round or 9 x 12-inch/23 x 30 cm oven-safe casserole dish, place the mushrooms, onion, butter and olive oil. Roast, stirring for even browning. 

When the onion is nice and brown, after about 5 minutes, remove the dish from the oven. Stir in the garlic and add the greens, stirring to coat with the fat and the good stuff. Add the marsala, cream and tarragon. Return to the oven.

Now your stovetop is free to make the main course! The greens will be roasting and the cream thickening. You want it to coat a spoon, which should take about  4 minutes. Once it has thickened, remove from the oven and season with salt.

Pour the mixture into a heated flat-bottomed bowl. Grind a liberal amount of black pepper over it. Pop the cork.

Chef’s Tip: I hate wasting anything, and for years I have tried to find a use for shiitake stems. They really shouldn’t go in this dish. But I suggest cooking the hell out of them and mincing them up to add into your next veggie stock.