Oyster mushrooms are a utilitarian ingredient that can replace any recipe calling for button or crimini mushrooms. They are mild tasting with a sweet anise scent.
Converting a mushroom hater into a mushroom enthusiast is easy when you give them a fork full of properly cooked oyster mushrooms. The main trick being not to undercook the mushrooms and to make sure to salt them generously. Oyster mushrooms like long and slow heat and taste best when crisped slightly. We recommend sautéing them for at least 20 minutes. They’ll release their moisture within the first 5 minutes, which should be completely cooked off to prevent an off-putting texture. Over years of managing farmers market stands and taking questions by the intrigued public, we’ve discovered that the vast majority of people who think they dislike mushrooms have: a) never eaten a mushroom species besides the button mushroom (Portobellos and crimini are just larger sized button mushrooms!) or b) don’t like the ‘slimy’ texture of cooked mushrooms. It appeared that most often these people were either casualties of undercooked mushrooms or of the mid-century convenience cooking approach to mushrooms, with its cans of anonymous and viscous fungus. Poorly made cream of mushroom soup casserole had done formidable damage and it was up to us to take corrective measures. The following recipe is a tested and true means of pleasing even the most mushroom averse palette:
One large cluster of Oyster mushrooms
1 tbsp butter
2 large garlic cloves minced
1 tbsp dried thyme
1 tsp of salt + more to taste
Fresh ground black pepper
1 tbsp heavy cream
Step One: Mince garlic. Melt the butter in a pan over medium heat. Roughly chop Oyster mushrooms and add to pan.
Step Two: Sauté until the mushrooms release their liquid (5-10 minutes) then add the garlic, thyme, and salt.
Step Three: Sauté until all of the liquid is cooked off and continue to sauté until mushrooms crisp in the pan. Crisping will take 15-20 minutes.
Step Four: Remove from heat, deglaze pan with heavy cream and season to taste!
You can also amend the recipe by adding 1/2 cup of dry white wine when you add the garlic or by adding 1 Tbs of madeira when you deglaze the pan. Rosemary, sage, parsley, or lovage all make fine substitutions or additions to the thyme.