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Shiitake Bacon Can you say Umami?

Umami is a taste sensation found in some foods. The Japanese, who define umami as "deliciousness," have long recognized it as a taste distinct from sweet, salty, bitter and sour–the fifth taste. What is it exactly that makes umami happen? Umami is both a basic taste and a flavor enhancer produced by the presence of a specific chemical compound–free glutamate. Glutamate is abundant in all mushrooms placing them high on the umami scale, especially Shiitake and Porcini. The resulting "meaty" flavor offered by mushrooms, along with their distinctive texture, explains why they so successfully stand in for meat in vegetarian dishes. And with only 18-50 calories and up to 350 mg potassium for 3 oz they are a wise choice!

2 cups shiitake mushroom caps, sliced thinly (less than 1cm)

1 Tbsp olive oil

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp sesame oil

1 tsp natural liquid smoke or smoked paprika

Preheat oven to 375

Combine all of the ingredients (except for shiitake) in a large bowl. Add in the sliced shiitake, and toss gently. Allow to marinate for 20 minutes or more.

Place the shiitake in a single layer on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper or a silpat. Bake for 15 minutes, toss and then bake for an additional 15 minutes. Keep an eye on them towards the end, they could burn easily.

Remove from the oven and place on paper towel to drain, cool, and become crispy. You are unlikely to have any leftover to store, but a ziplock in the fridge will do nicely. Baking time depends on thickness and preference. Experiment with ingredients as many report enjoying making these with just olive oil and a pinch of salt.

EARTHSAVE CANADA ~ Save the earth one bite at a time

Earthsave Canada is a Vancouver-based charity, helping people choose foods that benefit our health, the environment, and the lives of animals.

MAILING ADDRESS: Earthsave Canada PO Box 2213 STN Terminal Vancouver, BC V6B 3W2 | | 604-731-5885 

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