Niagara [Roasted Shiitake, Spring Onion, and Butter Lettuce Salad with Ponzu]


It’s amazing how little you commit to memory without making an effort to commit things to memory.

For the long weekend, we and the poodle set out on a getaway to Niagara to visit my grandparents.

Niagara is gorgeous in summer. There’s no better word to describe it than lush. The boughs of the enormous trees seem at once to be burdened and held up by the hanging humidity.

I’ve been there so many times. But my mental image is made up of a patchwork of visits and distanced by the lens of childhood.

shitaakesalad1     shitaakesalad3

On this visit, grandma and grandpa actually took us out and about to show off the region to Michael (yep, proud as punch).

I was taken aback by how many things I couldn’t place. The mansions in Effingham, Sneider, the Mennonites, the orchards. This isn’t Highway 8 (a.k.a. “The Wine Route”), but more RR20.

The very best stops were at Williams’ and Gallagher’s, two fruit markets my dad always used to bring us to. They had the first cherries of the season out; the red ones, not the Rainiers.

This time I was the buyer, not the one giving the tree next to the store an obvious shake to see if any sweet fruit would come of it.

Roasted Shiitake, Spring Onion, and Butter Lettuce Salad with Ponzu

12 large fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems removed
3 spring onions
sea salt
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 head butter lettuce
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tbsp mirin

Preheat oven to 400F. Put the mushrooms and onions in a large cast iron skillet and toss with the oil. Roast until nicely browned, about 20 minutes. To make the dressing, whisk together the lemon juice, soy sauce, and mirin in a bowl. Put the mushrooms, onions, and lettuce in a bowl and toss to combine. Drizzle with the dressing, then gently fold to dress evenly.

*Note: If you have a barbecue, you can easily grill the mushroom and onions instead.




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