Saturday, July 19, 2008

Oyster Mushrooms...Pleurotus, Cooking

I feel slightly guilty in my wild enthusiasm when I find a tree laden with oyster mushrooms. The guilt comes from knowing that they are growing on what is probably a dying elm. however, they are much more aromatic and delicious than the cultivated kind. After all, I didn't kill the tree. They need to be cut from the tree with a sharp knife. Sometimes a ladder will be required.
When i get them home, I check to see if there are any small bugs scurrying around. If the mushrooms are white and firm, they are probably okay. If there are bugs, a quick soak in heavily salted water will drive them out.
The fibrous stems should be cut off and if there are more than I need for a given meal, I cut them in strips along the gills. I melt them in olive oil--not too hot--and cover with good chicken stock. (I always have some made from the carcasses and leftover bones and innards--not liver--of my weekly roast chicken. I cook gently for about twenty minutes, let cool and then portion them--about one-and-a-half cups in each--into freezer containers. If I can, I use cardboard coffee containers thereby avoiding plastic.
They make a wonderful pasta sauce with noodles--gluten-free for those avoiding and with or without cream or coconut milk for the lactose intolerant. The same preparation is perfect to simmer boneless chicken.
Of course, this can be made with store-bought oyster mushrooms; but it will not be as heavenly. Good though.

No comments: