Look Mom, Vegetarian Calamari Rings!
Fried calamari is by far my favorite appetizer. I just can’t imagine what my vegetarian friends are missing by not enjoying this absolutely mouth-watering seafood dish. But wait. What if I can prepare a vegetarian version that LOOKS and TASTES like the real thing?
For this recipe, in place of squid, I use king oyster mushrooms which are readily available at many Asian supermarkets. The process of making rings out of the mushrooms is, in itself, an exciting process. I slice the mushrooms into thin pieces -crosswise- before cutting a “doughnut hole” in the middle of each slice using a two-sided jigger shot measuring cup. No part of the mushroom goes to waste. The sliced centers can be used for other vegetarian dishes. Hint: they look like scallops!
This recipe is even healthier because instead of deep frying the rings, I bake them until they are golden brown and crisp, like the real calamari rings.
2 large king oyster mushrooms ( available at many Asian supermarkets)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp freshly-squeezed lemon juice
Sea salt to taste
1 green jalapeno pepper, thinly sliced
1 tsp whole wheat flour
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/2 cup bread crumbs
Using a jigger shot measuring cup, cut a hole in the center of each mushroom slice to make a ring. Save the centers for some other mushroom dish.
Mix the olive oil, lime juice, jalapeno pepper, onion powder and sea salt in a shallow bowl and submerge the mushroom rings to marinate for about 30 minutes.
In a separate bowl, beat the egg and add the flour
Spread the bread crumbs on another plate
Preheat oven to 425 degrees
Dip the marinated mushroom rings into the egg and flour mixture, then into the plate of bread crumbs.
Lay the coated mushroom rings in a single layer on a flat baking dish lined with aluminum foil
Place the baking dish in the oven and bake for about 10 minutes, turning the mushrooms over and baking for another 5 minutes
Serve hot with your favorite sauce. (I chose sweet chili sauce, but mayonnaise, ketchup or tartar sauce would work just as well)
(Makes 4-6 servings)