Braised Oyster Mushrooms
Oyster mushrooms have become regularly avalable in supermarkets over the last few years, and when I see some nice big intact clusters of these exotic beauties I can't keep myself from buying a few. A few years ago, I came up with a treatment that keeps the clusters whole, since chopping them up and using them like other mushrooms means losing the visual interest of the leafy clusters, and gradually this recipe has won a place on the short list of "recurring characters" at our table.
2 clusters oyster mushrooms
3 T butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 C white wine
2 T unflavored bread crumbs
2 T parsley or other herbs, minced
salt to taste
truffle oil (optional but highly recommended)
Take care to keep the clusters intact. Brush off the mushrooms and trim any hard woody parts from their bases. Melt 2 T of the butter over medium heat in a pan large enough for all the mushrooms without overlapping. Add the garlic and sauté a minute and then add mushrooms. Add wine and cook, tightly covered, on lowest heat for 15 - 20 minutes, turning occasionally. The mushrooms are done when tender throughout. If there is any liquid in the pan, raise heat to medium and reduce to a syrup. Then, raise heat to high and sauté for a couple of minutes to slightly brown one side of the clusters. Remove to warmed plates, browned side up. Reduce heat to medium, add the remaining butter and sauté the breadcrumbs in the pan 'til just crunchy. Drain on a paper towel and toss with the parsley and salt to taste. Drizzle a few drops of the truffle oil over each cluster, if using, and sprinkle the mushrooms with the crumb-parsley mix and a grinding of pepper.
I normally serve this as a separate appetizer course, but it also makes a nice side with roasted or grilled meat or chicken.
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