Pan fried pork with garlic tones.
Swiss chard with plum tomatoes, the bitter greens sweetened by that pop of acidic tomato.
(Did I mention One Pan?)
A few weeks ago Damaris and I went to my current favorite Japanese izakaya and we had some enoki mushrooms to die for. The waitress gave up the secret when she said, “No one ever thinks of pairing soy sauce with butter but it’s delicious.”
You’re right, Miss, I never thought of that, but I’m thinking of it now. I’ll still be going back to that restaurant (not sure I can duplicate their pork belly; I’m willing to try my mother’s), but enoki mushrooms in butter and soy sauce are now a common delicacy in my house.
Their white and almost shiny long stems and caps are so tiny that you eat many at once. They always retain a tiny bit of crunch under their velvety tenderness. Their flavor is light and since they have more surface (and space between mushrooms) they pick up other flavors well. Enoki are common in shabu shabu and sukiyaki, kinds of Japanese hot pots, for lack of a better explanation. Their stems and roots stick together. Once the roots are removed the mushrooms should be cooked in a bundle rather than separated, as their texture and flavor will be lost amidst a stir fry or stew. They cook very, very quickly.
Amaya was skeptical of the mushrooms, and I readily served her a tiny portion and left more for us, but then we had to share with her. I was almost wishing that her pickiness was going to keep us from wrestling over the last mushroom.
I’m always making too many dishes when I cook, and then I take much too long to put dinner on the table. In addition, I’ll spend the whole time making one dish and our meal is monotonous and missing a balancing component. There’s so much variety here I could call this an actual and complete dinner.
Since everything in this meal is cooked almost the instant it hits the pan (plus a few minutes for the chard), you can put dinner on the table in 20 minutes or so. I didn’t measure anything, and you won’t need to either. It will taste good even with approximations.
One-Pan Three-Part Dinner (enoki, pork, and chard)
- soy sauce
- two packages enoki mushrooms
- 1 Tbsp oil
- 1/2 lb or more thinly sliced pork (sukiyaki style cut, or you can cut a chop thinly if it is slightly frozen—it won’t be exactly the same but definitely cheaper)
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- 1 slice of ginger (optional)
- sake (or other dry white wine—optional—you could use water or a bit of white grape juice here if you like)
- 1 large bunch swiss chard (or kale), chopped (about 6 cups)—stems trimmed and sliced again.
- plum or cherry tomatoes
- vinegar (any kind, really)
- hot cooked rice to serve with
- In a large saute pan (you should use a stainless steel pan or a cast iron if that is not available) heat a few tablespoons of butter over medium heat. When the butter melts and foams a bit and just begins to turn brown, throw in the mushrooms. Stir them around a bit and splash a tablespoon or so of soy sauce. Cook for another minute and then remove to a plate, letting most of the butter soy sauce liquid over the mushrooms.
- In the same pan, add the oil and turn to medium high heat. Salt the pork on both sides, lightly. When the pan is very hot (but the oil should not be smoking), place the pork in the pan and brown on both sides. If you are using sukiyaki cut the pieces will be cooked almost instantly. Pork will toughen if you over cook it so don’t leave it too long in the pan. Stir around the garlic in the last 30 second of cooking with the pork. Remove the pork to a plate.
- Splash a few tablespoons of sake into the pan and the slice of ginger. Simmer and scrape up the browned bits with a wooden spoon. Reduce heat to medium, add the swiss chard, season with a bit of salt, and stir again. Throw in a handful of plum or cherry tomatoes. Cover with a lid and let cook down for about 4 minutes.
- Remove the lid and stir, cooking until the liquid has mostly evaporated, maybe 2 minutes more. Sometimes, if I can tell the greens are a bit too salty and bitter, I put a spin of honey in there.
- Put a small spoonful of vinegar (if desired) and stir around. Serve.