Inspired by his own quest for a healthier diet, Simon Sheridan, owner of Exquisite Food, crafts a hearty vegan noodle dish.
Anyone who has attended a Hamptons cocktail party has likely met Simon Sheridan.... or at least his food. The Swiss-trained Englishman and owner of Exquisite Food has been catering on the East End for more than a decade. And while local, seasonal cuisine comes with the territory, he and his wife recently participated in the Wellness Challenge, a whole-food, plant-based diet created by East Hampton resident Douglas Mercer, founder of the Wellness Foundation, in a quest to eat healthier.
“In many respects, [the Challenge] is similar to how we eat, with the exception of no animal products,” Sheridan says of the six-week program. “Also, most people use too much salt and oil. It’s a reeducation process. Now we use those items incredibly sparingly.”
Health-conscious eaters are taking their mantra to the masses. Sheridan says one of his largest weddings of the season will feature a primarily vegetarian menu, with only a small portion of locally sourced fish. So forgo the beef sliders at your next event and opt, instead, for Sheridan’s Asian wild mushroom soba noodles—a guilt-free burger alternative packed with flavor.
Locally sourced mushrooms deliver satisfying umami—that savory flavor sensation that makes everything taste better. Sheridan starts by sautéing thinly sliced elephant garlic, then adds the fresh fungi. Shiitakes are a must because of their hearty texture and smoky notes, but the rest are the chef’s choice. Oyster mushrooms have a meaty consistency, and both the cap and stem are usable. Chanterelles offer a rich, buttery flavor and embody all the qualities of a true forest mushroom. Enokis round out the dish with a delicate bite and just a hint of radish spice. Resist adding water when cooking; the mushrooms will quickly absorb the small amount of oil, then release their own water content before caramelizing.
Boil, Toss, and Serve
Sheridan multitasks by simultaneously boiling buckwheat soba noodles in unsalted water. After a quick rinse to remove excess starch, they’re ready to go. Once the mushrooms begin to show some color, Sheridan adds low-sodium soy sauce and mirin, a sweet rice wine similar to sake. A quick reduction blends all the flavors, then he tosses the mixture with the noodles, sliced scallions, and chopped cilantro.
As often happens in the kitchen, the accompaniment to the mushrooms came together accidentally when Sheridan found himself short on vegetables for a catering gig. He quickly steamed finely diced rainbow Swiss chard—separating the vivid stems from the leafy greens for eye-popping flecks of yellow, orange, and red—along with broccoli rabe for a colorful side. Riffing on the color wheel, he’s also served the dish with an earthy roasted red beet salad with baked pecans, shallots, and spicy sesame dressing. East Hampton, 827-6000