Laetiporus Ceasar Salad

I am addicted to Ceasar salad. I could eat it every day. When the sulfur shelves are fruiting, I love to combine them to make a sort of mock-chicken Ceasar salad. Occasionally I make the dressing from scratch, following one of several good recipes available. Basically it's mayonnaise made fresh with Dijon mustard, parmesan and anchovies. I confess, though, that I usually get lazy and use a pre-made Ceasar dressing, because there is one brand whose flavor I like better than my own. I won't buy pre-made croutons, though. I keep my stale bread, slicing it into cubes before it hardens. When it comes time to replenish my crouton supply, I just sautée them slowly, stirring often, with olive oil or butter until they start to turn brown, then add fresh crushed garlic, salt, pepper and herbs. If I have thin slices of narrow baguette, I simply make garlic and herb toast in the oven.

To prepare the Leatiporus for the salad, sautée the mushroom strips in a large wok or frying pan on medium heat with a small amount of olive oil, thyme, rosemary and balsamic vinegar for about 10 minutes. Cover for the last 5 minutes so the juices get reabsorbed. Turn up the heat a bit at the end to sear the outside of the mushrooms.

Toss the lettuce, croutons and dressing together, put on salad plates, and place several Letiporus strips on top. Grate some fresh parmesan or pecorino (romano) cheese over the top before serving.