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Watercress And Fried Mushroom Salad

Oh, this is a salad...Richly flavored, deeply satisfying and nutrient-dense, this is a meal on its own.

Ingredients
12 each dried shiitake mushrooms, rehydrated 
1 cup unsweetened almond or soy milk 
1 pinch sea salt 
2 cups cornmeal, for dredging 
1 red onion, 1/4 inch thick rings 
2 bunches watercress,  rinsed, leave whole 
1 cup avocado oil, for frying

Sesame Dressing: 

3 tablespoons sesame tahini 
1/2 teaspoon umeboshi vinegar 
1/2 teaspoon soy sauce 
1 lemon, juice extracted 
1 teaspoon fresh ginger root, juice extracted 
1 teaspoon brown rice syrup 
1 cup water 

Directions 
Drain the mushrooms, reserve the soaking liquid, and discard the stems. Place the mushrooms in a saucepan with the milk and a generous pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, uncovered, over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer until mushrooms are tender, about fifteen minutes. Drain the mushrooms and dredge in cornmeal to coat. Then set aside. 

Bring a pot of water to boil, and blanch the onions for about 30 seconds. Drain and lay on a platter. Blanch the watercress for about 30 seconds, drain, and slice into bite size pieces. Set aside to cool. 

Heat about 1 inch of olive oil in a deep pot over medium heat. While the oil heats, make the dressing. Whisk the ingredients together in a small bowl until smooth, slowly adding water into you achieve the desired consistency. Set aside.

When the oil is hot, increase the heat to high end quickly fry the mushrooms until crispy golden brown. Drain on paper towels. To serve, arrange watercress and onions on individual salad plates. Top each salad with three mushrooms. Drizzle with dressing and serve immediately.  

Makes 4-6 servings


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