Delicious crispy, perfectly spiced ellipses to grace the top of your pizza.
1 lb mushrooms, such as King Oyster*, sliced to ⅛ inch medallions
¾ cup red wine
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp maple syrup
½ tsp liquid smoke
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1½ tsp Spanish smoked paprika, divided
½ tsp whole fennel seeds, toasted and crushed
¼ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp onion powder
⅛ tsp cayenne pepper
1 star anise segment or ¼ teaspoon Spanish anise seeds, toasted and crushed
4 tbsp olive oil or vegetable oil
Fresh ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Whisk together red wine, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, liquid smoke, and 1 tsp of the paprika in a mixing bowl. Place mushrooms in a flat-bottomed container, spreading them out evenly, and pour the marinade over them. Allow to marinate for up to overnight (though a ten-minute dunk in the marinade will do just fine).
The mushrooms should fit on two half-sheet pans. Lay down parchment paper on the pans and divide the oil between them, spreading with a brush across the paper. Take each mushroom slice from the marinade, allowing the excess to drip off, and lay them down in a single layer on the pans. Season with salt and pepper (you’ll be able to add more later so don’t go crazy) and place in the oven for 20-30 minutes, flipping halfway through. The mushrooms should be beginning to brown and be crisp around the edges while retaining a tender and chewy texture.
In a kitchen bowl, combine the remaining paprika, fennel seeds, garlic and onion powder, cayenne pepper, and star anise. Transfer the mushrooms to the bowl and toss to coat with spices. Add more kosher salt and fresh-ground pepper to taste. Use immediately to top pizza or sandwiches, or allow to cool completely before storing in the refrigerator for up to one week.
For hot soppressata: Replace the red wine with dry white wine. Replace the balsamic with apple cider vinegar, whisk an additional ½ tsp of garlic powder into the marinade, and omit the maple syrup, liquid smoke, and anise. Increase the cayenne pepper to ¼ tsp and add crushed red pepper flakes to taste either before baking or when tossing with the other spices.
*King Oyster mushrooms, also called trumpet royale, are the best choice for this application due to their long tubular shape which allows you to slice a lot of pepperoni from each mushroom. They’re often difficult to find and incredibly expensive in American groceries; however, Asian markets generally sell them for much less. If you can’t find King Oyster, you can use button or cremini mushrooms. A mandoline slicer will do the best job; however, if you are confident in your knife skills or are okay with thicker pepperoni slices, you may by all means use a knife.