Enoki mushrooms aren't as common around here as some other types, so when we saw some for sale, I had to get some! Since I had never cooked them before, I got 2 packs. I figured I could just throw one pack in with some miso soup, but I wanted to try something new as well. Enoki mushrooms, or enokitake in Japanese, are long, thin mushrooms that grow in clumps. When choosing fresh enoki mushrooms, look for firm, white caps, and avoid slimy or brown stalks. (These characteristics apply to cultivated enoki and not wild enoki. However, if you're buying enoki from a grocery store, you're likely buying the cultivated variety.) You can also grow your own enoki from a kit! Enoki are a healthy choice since they contain antioxidants like ergothioneine and relatively large amounts of a protein (designated Five), which helps regulate the immune system and has potential uses in vaccines and immunotherapy.
I thought I would make something that matched the shape of the enoki mushrooms and would go well with them. As I looked around, I found some spinach...stems. I know they're usually removed, but why just discard them when you can put them to use? Plus, no chopping or cutting into strips needed! Just pinch off the stem and place it on top of the enoki mushrooms. With the white enoki mushrooms and green spinach, I thought I would throw in some carrots for additional color. Carrots also have quite a bit of β-carotene, but only about 3% is released during digestion - unless you cook and add in a bit of oil.
Well, how do you solve that problem? Wrap everything in bacon! Not only will the bacon add a huge hit of flavor, but it'll form the wrapping, making the enoki, spinach, and carrots easier to eat (and more nutritious)!
Enoki, Carrots, and Spinach Wrapped with Bacon (printable version)
Enoki mushrooms with carrots and spinach, wrapped in savory bacon for a chewy, yet crunchy bundle of delicious.
Yield: 4-5 servings
- 1 bunch enoki mushrooms, cleaned
- 1-2 carrots, julienned
- 1 small handful spinach stems (Zucchini is another good option.)
- 4-5 strips bacon, cut in half
- Divide enoki into 8-10 portions, placing each portion in the center of a bacon strip.
- Place 5-10 spinach stems on top, depending on how much spinach flavor and how "bite-size" you want the finished product.
- Place about the same amount of carrot stems on top of the spinach.
- Bring bacon strip ends together, and secure with a toothpick or skewer. I only had skewers, so I stuck one through a bundle and then break off the end. I kept doing that until I ran out of skewer, and I used a total of 2 skewers when I made this dish with 8 bundles.
What's your favorite way to enjoy mushrooms?
Linked to: Ingredient Spotlight