“And if the band you’re playing in starts playing different tunes / I’ll see you on the dark side of the moon”
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Piper At The Gates Of Dawn is an incredibly overlooked and underrated Pink Floyd album. Its place in the Floyd discography is made sadder knowing the mad genius of Syd Barrett on display there would burn him out completely. The later Floyd work isn’t necessarily bad – it just does not carry the spark of genius seen in Piper. (That said, I did have “Pigs On The Wing” played at my wedding.) Of the post-Barrett albums, I am firmly in the Dark Side Of The Moon camp. It marked an incredible leap forward in both songwriting and production. Yeah, it may be a bit of a stoner cliche and perhaps The Wall is more ambitious, but one listen to “Brain Damage” is all you need to understand the brilliance of this album. It’s an epic and bittersweet tribute to Barrett, and possibly the best track on Dark Side Of The Moon. It is also the most logical pun for a mushroom sloppy joe.
As more people are moving to plant-based eating, the need for more vegetable sandwiches on menus increases. That often means some variation on the portobello “burger” or “veggie” burger. Neither option is very inspired and most often come out VERY lackluster. I wanted mushrooms with a comfort food feel but still qualify as vegetarian/vegan. I use mushrooms as an addition to ground beef in sloppy joes, so perhaps I could ditch the ground beef altogether.
You will need to dirty two pans for this – one for the sauce; one for vegetable saute. The biggest prep pain is probably slicing 1 1/2 pounds of crimini mushrooms. You should let the sauce simmer while prepping the vegetables. Then you should make sure to let the whole thing simmer for about 20 minutes to get nice and saucy.
The result is a surprisingly “meaty” sloppy joe with a bit of heat and all the comfort of the carnivore version. I had originally made this with straight-up Southern vinegar slaw and bread & butter pickles, but decided to go a bit fancier with jalapeno pickle slaw and some pickled carrots. The slaw adds extra heat but also some crunch. The pickled carrot has a beautiful sourness.
Many might argue for a potato roll as the bread component, but I disagree strongly. The only good use for a potato roll is a smash burger. Heavily sauced sandwiches like this need a stronger bread. Any variety of sandwich roll will work well as will a couple of slices of study sourdough or country bread. You want a bread choice that is going to allow you to pick up your sandwich from first to the last bite.
Over the years, I have discovered the final ingredient I put on all my sloppy joes can be controversial. I like yellow mustard on the top and bottom buns. To me, it adds brightness and acid that ties the sandwich together. Yes, the sloppy joe already is sauced, but trust me, a little yellow mustard will take your sloppy joe to the next level.
THE DARK SIDE OF THE SHROOM
Cremini mushroom sloppy joe, jalapeno pickle slaw, carrot pickles, and yellow mustard on a bulkie roll
Makes about 6 sandwiches
1 1/4 cups crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/4 cup water
3 tablespoon cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 pounds cremini mushroom, sliced thin
1 red pepper, sliced thin in matchsticks
1 poblano, sliced thin in matchsticks
1 onion, sliced thin
olive or vegetable oil
Jalapeno pickle slaw (see recipe below)
Pickled carrots (see recipe below)
Bulkie roll (or Kaiser or brioche or a couple of slices of hearty bread – something that will stand up to the sauciness)
To make the sauce
Place all of the sauce ingredients in a saucepan. Whisk to thoroughly combine. Bring to a boil – reduce heat – gently simmer while prepping vegetables.
Prepare the vegetables
In a large skillet, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the onion and cook until browning but not caramelized. Add red pepper and poblano continue to saute until peppers are tender. Remove onions and peppers from the skillet and set aside.
Add more oil and the mushrooms. Saute mushrooms until tender and releasing their juices. Return onion and pepper mix to the skillet. Stir to combine thoroughly. Add the sauce to the skillet and stir thoroughly. Simmer until thick and saucy.
When done, toast your chosen bread. Place some mustard on the bottom and top buns. Spoon the sloppy joe onto the bottom bun. Top with jalapeno pickle slaw and a few pickled carrots. Grab a ton of napkins and enjoy!
JALAPENO PICKLE SLAW
Makes about 1 quart
10 ounces green cabbage, shredded fine
1 medium carrot, shredded
1 cup chopped bread & butter pickles & Rock Candy Jalapenos, mixed
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons pickle brine
1/2 teaspoon white sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
In a medium bowl, toss cabbage, carrot, and pickles together. In a small bowl, combine red wine vinegar, pickle juice, sugar, garlic powder, salt, and pepper and whisk until thoroughly combined. Pour dressing over slaw mix and toss to coat. Place in an airtight container and let rest in refrigerator at least an hour before using it.
(Yield about 1 quart)
1 extra-large carrot, peeled and cut on diagonal 1/4” thick
1/2 sweet onion, sliced thin
1 jalapeno, cut on diagonal 1/4” thick
4 cloves garlic, peeled & sliced thin
1 1/2 cups white vinegar
1 1/2 cups water
10 black peppercorns
2 teaspoon Mexican oregano
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Place garlic, vinegar, water, peppercorns, oregano, and salt in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Add the carrots, onion, and jalapeno. Reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes. Let it cool completely in the pan on the stove. Once cool, transfer to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator.