I’m a mushroom fanatic. Cultivated, wild, roasted, grilled, fried — I’ll take them all! Oyster mushrooms are at once both toothsome and tender, with all that good “meatiness” that shrooms are known for. While common in Asian cuisines, they’ve gained popularity far and wide over the years. They’re well-suited to a variety of preparations, but a quick pan-fry keeps things simple and quick.
Oyster mushrooms have a mild flavor with a tender, meaty texture. They are not named for their flavor, but for the way they grow. Instead of individual shrooms, they grow in clusters, similar to oyster beds.
Depending on where you are, oyster mushrooms can be tricky to find. Asian supermarkets will almost always carry oyster mushrooms, with natural food grocers also sometimes carrying them. If you live in an area with a large Asian immigrant population (like here in the Netherlands), your neighborhood grocery store may also carry them!
Much of their prized texture lies in the stalks, so make sure you use the whole thing. You can use them just as you would normal mushrooms; slice and fry in oil or butter until deeply coloured. They’ll take a little longer to cook than other mushrooms (about 6-7 mins), and won’t wilt nearly as much.
They’ll roast well, too. Try halving them lengthways and scoring a criss-cross pattern into the cut side before roasting; it allows the heat to penetrate, but also allows you to baste them in oil, herbs, and aromatics while they roast and turn golden.
A popular way to prepare them is to slice the stalks into thick pieces, lengthways or crossways, and then lightly poach them in a flavorful stock for a few minutes. Those pieces can then be pan-fried or BBQ’d.
If you’re looking to use your mushrooms to add meaty texture to plant-based dishes, the stalk can be shredded with the tines of a fork before frying, or braising into a sauce. The ibres hold their shape once cooked, and give a texture similar to pulled pork.
Lately, I’ve received a number of emails asking me about oyster mushroom identification. The most recent one came in early December from a reader named Tracey. She writes:
Great questions, Tracey! Let’s take a closer look at oyster mushroom identification.
Please remember to never eat any mushroom if you’re not absolutely sure what it is. The Internet is a great resource, but if you’re a beginner you should show your find to a real live expert to be safe. Nothing beats an in-person identification!
All About Oyster Mushrooms/wild oyster mushrooms
- They’re easily cultivated and one of the top commercially grown mushrooms.
- You can grow oyster shrooms at home! Check out our guide to mushroom grow kits which includes recommendations for growing oysters.
- Oysters are FAR more than just a simple edible mushroom. They possess incredible abilities to absorb and clean up pollution, mitigate oil spills, and are being used to make mushroom leather. If there is one mushroom that will change the world, it is the oyster! Oh, and they’re medicinal!
Oyster Mushroom Identification
Pleurotus ostreatus, is a common edible known for its oyster-shaped cap. One of the first things you should look for when trying to identify this mushroom is the presence of decurrent gills.
Decurrent means that the gills are attached to and run directly down the stem. Take a look at the close-up. Can you see how they run into and down the stem?