Prep time: 2 hours
Total time: 2 hours
1-2 pounds fresh organic shiitake or maitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 cup olive oil
1 cup soy sauce or tamari
1 splash sesame oil, to taste
minced garlic (optional)
1) Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a bowl, combine the olive oil, soy sauce or tamari, sesame oil, and garlic (if desired). Dip mushroom slices in mixture, flip, then placed on a cookie sheet (no foil needed). You will probably need 2-3 cookie sheets. Bake for 30–50 minutes.
2) Consolidate mushrooms on one cookie sheet, flipping mushrooms over, and drain any excess shiitake soak oil and tamari. If you wish, you can save it in a jar and refrigerate for future use as a potent flavoring or infusion in salad dressings, chicken marinade, an Asian vegetables sauce, or cooking oil for Asian stir-fry.
3) Replace the now-consolidated mushrooms on one tray into oven. Give them space! Reduce heat to 325 F and cook for 30 minutes.
4) Remove mushrooms from the oven. Use a spatula to scrap them off the cookie sheet and let cool. (They will harden and lose more moisture.) After 15 minutes, if needed, replace in oven until the residual moisture is cooked off, so they become crispy hard on the edges. It's important that the mushrooms are not soft, but rigid! But do not burn them. When done, put them into a paper-towel lined bowl, allow them to come to room temperature, and break them up into morsels. Chef's Tip: There is an amazing cook-down of the mushrooms' mass. You can start with 1–2 lbs. of shiitake and end up with a small volume, but the small shiitake-bacon can then be put into a refrigerator and stored for a long time. Store in a plastic tub in the freezer. When using, simply heat. (They're also good cold on salads with nuts, like walnuts!)