Where an ingredient comes from, how it’s grown, raised or harvested and the impact it leaves behind on the surrounding environment are integral pieces of food sustainability.
Mushrooms are widely considered one of the most sustainable ingredients because the fungi has a carbon footprint that’s much smaller than most other sources of proteins and vegetables, according to the American Mushroom Institute.
Executive chef Denevin Miranda has made sustainability the star at his restaurant, The Osprey at the 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge, with signature dishes like a maitake mushroom infused with flavors of his Filipino heritage, which has been on the menu since day one.
Miranda gave “Good Morning America” an inside look at his carbon-conscious practices, explained how he strictly manages waste and shared advice as well as a recipe to cook a sustainable meal at home.
“My heritage has really impacted my sustainable cooking,” the chef explained, recounting his early memories in the kitchen with his grandmother, who immigrated to the United States. “At the time, she couldn’t find a lot of the ingredients to prepare a lot of the dishes and recipes that she brought with her, so she actually grew all the vegetables organically: tomatoes, eggplants, some of the Asian ingredients like bok choy.”
“I love that whole return to the earth,” he continued. “I would garden with her and it was some of the best special times that I remember as a child. We’d pick and harvest for the day and then prepare the meal. And that was really what got me into sustainable cooking and cooking in general.”
Miranda’s professional kitchen operations maintain partnerships with local farms, who he said utilize The Osprey’s organic waste — think veggie scraps and compost — to create compost logs that act as a building block to grow beautiful mushrooms.
“A lot of our goals here are to be a zero waste kitchen,” he said, adding they are “very strict” when it comes to separating waste streams. “You don’t want to use bones and animal scraps to be composted. So the other organic material is going to be sent to a facility that returns it to the sewage system and it comes back as fresh water and then the compost is material.”
“It’s full circle, very green, we are minimizing our waste and utilizing it to upcycle into some beautiful products that ends up on our dinner tables,” he said. “We source locally and seasonally as close as possible, we change the menu readily, to make sure that we’re utilizing the best ingredients that we have available this time of the year.”
Check out one of Miranda’s mushroom-based recipes below.
Hen of the Woods Mushroom with Chimichurri-Shishito Aioli and Pickled Mushrooms
“I put this on when I first started here, and I literally can’t take it off the menu,” he said of the meaty plant-based dish that’s based on his Filipino heritage. “One of my favorite dishes is chicken adobo. It’s the same kind of ingredients and flavor profiles with the vinegar soy used during the grilling process of these mushrooms. And it just imparts some of that beautiful flavor that I hold close to my heart.”
“Try to stop by your local farmers market. You’ll get to meet some great people who love food as well and get introduced some great ingredients that you can implement to your home cooking,” he added.
If you don’t have access to a farmer’s market or grocer that sells hen of the woods, chef suggests Portobello mushrooms as a suitable swap.
Serves: 4 people
Cooking Time: 30 mins
1 pound maitake mushrooms
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon chopped thyme
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
Pickled Hon-shimeji Mushrooms
1/2 pound Hon-shimeji Mushrooms
1 cup rice wine vinegar
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon Aleppo chili flake
1 bay leaf
Chimichurri-shishito Aioli8 ounces silken tofu
1/2 cup cilantro
1/2 cup parsley
1/4 cup oregano
3 garlic cloves
1 shallot chopped
8 ounces shishito peppers, lightly grilled
2 cups olive oil
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Balsamic Soy Glaze:
1 cup balsamic vinegar
1 cup soy sauce
4 tablespoons sugar
For the maitake mushrooms: Preheat oven to 350 F.
Rinse mushrooms under cold water to sanitize.
Trim an inch off the bottom, making sure the mushrooms stay intact during the process.
Drizzle a generous amount of olive oil over the mushrooms. Season mushrooms with chopped thyme, garlic, salt and pepper. Transfer seasoned mushrooms to a sheet tray. Place tray in the heated oven and let cook for 5 minutes.
For the pickled Hon-shimeji: Place a pot on the stove and turn heat on high. Pour rice wine vinegar, sugar, bay leaf and chili flakes into a pot and mix until boiling. Once mixture has reached boiling point, let it rest, then pour over Hon-shimeji mushrooms.
For the chimichurri-shishito aioli: Blend cilantro, parsley, oregano, garlic clove, shallot, shishito pepper and lime juice in food processer. Slowly incorporate olive oil until mixture is liquid. Blend mixture into “veganaise,” until both items are thoroughly combined. Add preferred amount of salt to mixture for additional seasoning.
For the balsamic soy glaze: Place a pot on the stove and turn on low to medium heat. Pour in balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, and sugar. Mix ingredients together till a glaze consistency is created. Glaze each cooked maitake mushroom.
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Place your maitake in the oven for 5 minutes or until heated through.
Remove from the oven and drizzle generously with the balsamic soy glaze.
Transfer the maitake to a non-stick pan on medium to low heat. Let the maitake reduce until it is caramelized.
On a plate, add a spoonful of shishito pepper puree and squeeze a little aioli in the middle. Nestle the maitake on top of the puree and garnish with a few of the pickled Hon-shimeji mushrooms and a few pieces of shaved parmesan.
Finish with some rock chives, and serve!