Pleurotus ostreatus, or the Oyster mushroom, is found growing on trees year-round. Oyster mushrooms have look-a-likes sprouting from trunks that can confuse the forager. Fortunately none of the look-a-likes are poisonous, so the best way to distinguish an oyster mushroom is by taste. Back in your kitchen the fresh fungi can be fried or grilled to eat as an appetizer or an side dish.
Things You'll Need
3/4 cup bread crumbs
1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 cloves of garlic
2 teaspoons of tarragon
2 cups Oyster mushrooms
Harvesting and Frying
Remove the mushrooms from the trees by grasping them near the base and gently pulling. Oyster mushrooms grow in clusters on the trunks of trees, particularly Willow trees. They are large and fluffy with a white, gray or brown cap. Many different species of mushroom look like the tasty oyster mushroom, but the look-a-likes are decidedly less appetizing. Taste a little piece of the mushrooms. If the taste is pleasantly rich and earthy you have found an oyster; if it is bitter it is another species. Do not taste mushroom species growing on the ground near the trees. Many mushroom species that grow on the ground are poisonous.
Rinse the mushrooms with cool water. Be on the lookout for black beetles. These small critters have a penchant for oyster mushrooms.
Cut the roots, or knobs, of the mushroom off and discard them in the trash. Set the caps aside.
Put two teaspoons of butter into a frying. Place the pan on the stove and set the heat to simmer.
Crack one egg into a bowl. Pour bread crumbs, garlic powder and oregano into the other bowl. Dip each mushroom into the egg. Dip the egg-covered mushroom into the breading mixture. The egg will cause the breading to stick to the mushroom. Olive oil can be used in place of egg.
Place the breaded mushroom into the frying pan. Turn the heat up to medium. Let the mushroom brown on each side. Cooking time is about ten minutes.
Chop the mushrooms into cubes or strips.
Pour olive oil, tarragon and salt into a large sauce pan. Set the pan on the stove over low heat. Add chopped garlic and onions. Turn the heat up to medium and let the mixture cook for about five minutes, or until they become soft and brown.
Add mushrooms to the pan. Stir the mixture until the mushrooms are covered with olive oil and spices. Continue to cook until the mushrooms become soft.
Serve sautéed mushrooms over steak or as a side dish.
Oyster mushrooms can be dehydrated and stored as a spice. Add dehydrated oyster mushrooms to meat sauces for a robust flavor.