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Chinese celery mushroom salad

Chilled Chinese Celery with Black Beans and Maitake

From: Chef Ken Oringer, Uni, Boston.  Yield: 1 salad.

1 head Chinese celery, cut into 2” pieces, leaves roughly chopped
½ cup pickled red onion (recipe follows) 
½ lb. seared maitake mushrooms (recipe follows)
3 Tbsp. fermented Chinese black beans, finely chopped into a powder
1 Tbsp. sesame oil
as needed, canola oil

Pickled Red Onion:
½ cup red wine vinegar
½ cup water
¼ cup sugar
pinch of salt
1 red onion, julienned into very thin slices 

½ lb. maitake (hen of the woods) mushrooms, cleaned of stems, torn randomly
as needed, canola oil for searing
2 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. yuzu or lemon juice
to taste, salt

For celery: In a pan, heat canola until it’s very hot. Place celery and enough salt to season into the oil. Toss to coat. Once celery starts to slightly soften (this happens fairly quickly), add 1 Tbsp. sesame oil. Remove from pan and cool completely.

For pickled red onion: Place all ingredients except onions in a nonreactive pot. Bring to a boil. Pour over onions and chill immediately. 

For mushrooms: In a sauté pan, heat canola oil until it’s very hot. Place mushrooms and salt in pan and sear, tossing frequently. Once mushrooms are caramelized a little, add butter and toss to coat. Cook until evenly browned. Add citrus juice to deglaze. Remove mushrooms from pan and cool completely.

To assemble: Place celery, pickled red onion, mushrooms and Chinese black beans in a mixing bowl. Toss like a salad, adding onion pickling liquid for seasoning. Garnish with celery leaves.

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