Last month it was my turn to host book-club and we read a book about women in Shanghai. Quite the discussion ensued. Always fascinating. Always fun. The choice for food this month was obvious: Chinese of course. I had big plans for the menu, but somehow I agreed to host at 5:30, hadn’t finished the book yet, and didn’t get out of the office until after 4:00. Oops. I made a few things, but the most successful and beautiful was by far the mushroom and sausage minced in radicchio cups. I had shopped for most ingredients at the Farmers’ Market at the Triangle the night before and found most of what I wanted. I had no idea that Richardson’s (my favorite pork people) have been selling chicken sausage?! Menu changer.
This was a fairly simple, very delicious, very easily vegetarian, and quickly prepared side or appetizer. It also saved well for my lunch the following day. The dressing is an adaptation of the Five-Herb Vinaigrette from Ming Tsai’s Simply Ming. It was a delight. The dressing makes about 3 cups and I only used about 1 cup for this recipe. I now have a beautiful jar of Four-Herb (that’s part of the adaptation) Vinaigrette in my fridge for use on any and everything (can you say fresh corn and green bean season?!).
1/4 cup dijon mustard
1/4 minced shallots
3/4 cup white rice vinegar
2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 Tablespoons mirin
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
1 Tablespoon sugar
2 Tablespoons dried mint
2 Tablespoons dried cilantro
2 Tablespoons dried basil
2 Tablespoons dried tarragon
3/4 cup grapeseed oil
1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
Combine all ingredients, except the oils, in a bowl. Slowly whisk in the oil. Stir or shake it up before you use every time.
Mushroom and Sausage Cups
1 head radicchio
1/2 pound chicken sausage, ground without casings
1 Tablespoon olive oil
4-5 garlic cloves, sliced thinly
1 1/2 pounds mixed mushrooms (I used what I had: button, shitake, portabello…), diced
extra soy sauce, optional
sprouts or microgreens, optional
Wash and dry the radicchio and place each leaf as a cup on a serving plate. Heat the wok (or a heavy-duty skillet will do). Add the chicken and cook over medium heat, and break it up with a wooden spoon. Add 2 Tablespoons of the vinaigrette as you cook, let it get absorbed. When sausage is done, set aside.
Heat the olive oil in the wok and add the garlic. Saute just for a minute or 2. Add the mushrooms and saute for about 2 minutes. Add the sausage back in and 1/4 cup of the dressing. Stir over medium heat for another 1 minute. Remove from the heat. Add another splash of soy sauce if needed.
While the mixture is still hot/warm, spoon into the radicchio cups. Since radicchio is pretty bitter, I like a lot of the mixture to balance it out. Drizzle a teaspoon or 2 of the dressing generously over the cups. Sprinkle chopped microgreens on top too.
I kept the dressing on the table for people to dip in if they so desired.