Crispy-Bottomed Oyster Mushroom Steaks

Well, Dear Reader, the results are in, and the dozen+ people who bothered to click their preferences in the survey have spoken:

March 16, 2016 Survey on Blog Topics

Like the early phase of the Republican presidential candidates, there were perhaps too many choices, and like U.S. election participation, voter turnout appeared low. Nonetheless, here is the first installment!  At least I know none of the more diligent readers wants to hear about ‘other,’ or ‘gauging an online recipe’…

Related to the other top contender: I’ve had a lot of ‘random musings on exercise vs. food’ lately, and also ‘less calories for great flavor’ ideas to try and counteract a little lax indulgence while I was on vacation in Kauai recently. I found this one from Food Republic, they had a column called Crispianity, all about the crispy! You know I love me some crunchy..

Crispy-Bottomed Oyster Mushroom Steaks With Chimichurri Sauce Recipe

– Prep Time: 15 minutes
– Cook Time: 15 minutes
– Serving Size: 2 -3

Ingredients

For Mushrooms:

– 1 pound of oyster mushroom, get a cluster if you can
– 2-3 tablespoons canola oil (olive oil will smoke more)
– Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For Chimichurri sauce
– 1/2 cup olive oil
– 6 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Shortcut option 1 (less work, less flavor):*
Buy a dry mix packet, add the liquids above and 1/4 tsp chili flakes to taste.

More work, more fresh flavor option 2:
– 6 tablespoons finely hand-chopped fresh parsley
– 2 tablespoons finely hand-minced scallions (or more chives)
– 2 tablespoons finely hand-chopped fresh oregano
– 2 tablespoons finely hand-minced chopped chives (or more scallions)
– 1 tablespoon finely hand-chopped fresh mint
– 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
– 1/4 teaspoon chili flakes

Steps:

For the chimichurri sauce:
– Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and stir to combine; reserve. See above for details.
*Finding I was missing a few key fresh herbs, I cheated and used a mix of a pre-existing dry mix for chimichurri sauce from brief my adventures in Chile last spring, plus olive oil, red wine vinegar, and an extra scallions, chive and oregano boost from the garden.

Chimichurri Sauce
Chimichurri Sauce
Fresh oyster mushrooms from the Ballard Farmer's Market, up close.
Fresh oyster mushrooms from the Ballard Farmer’s Market, up close.

For the mushroom:

      1. Take a look at the bottom of your oyster mushroom cluster and trim the bottom so you can make it as flat and level as possible. Preheat the oven to 500°F.
      2. In an 8- or 9-inch cast-iron skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat until really hot but not smoking; If you don’t have a cast-iron skillet or don’t feel like doing any heavy lifting, a nice heavy-bottomed ovenproof skillet will do just fine.
      3. Just before you place the mushroom in the skillet, hit the heated oil with a generous sprinkling of the salt and pepper.
Oyster mushrooms, freshly in the pan sizzling.
Oyster mushrooms, freshly in the pan sizzling.
    1. Place the mushroom in the skillet, arranging it however it lies the flattest and allows the most surface area to be directly touching the skillet. Cook on the stovetop, trying not to move, until the bottom is deeply browned, 5-6 minutes.
    2. Flip in pan for a nice browning on both sides.

      Sauteed
      Sauteed
    3. Sprinkle the top with additional salt and pepper, transfer to the oven, and roast until the mushroom’s edges appear to be slightly wilted and even a little charred, and additional 6-7 minutes.

      Sauteed mushrooms chillin' in the oven.
      Sauteed mushrooms chillin’ in the oven.
    4. Remove from oven, transfer to a serving platter and drizzle with the chimichurri sauce.
      The finished dish, plus a side of leftover braised coconut, chickpea & spinach mix.
      The finished dish, plus a side of leftover braised coconut, chickpea & spinach mix.


      Novelty Rating
      : 4 of 5, even feels healthy to eat! My two fellow dining companions gave it good reviews too.

      Likelihood of Repeat:
      60% A little extra effort to go to the farmer’s market and get oyster mushrooms, and that’s the only deterrent I see. Plus, I’d like to try making chimichurri sauce with all fresh ingredients -extra motivation!

      Lesson learned:
      tasting it, I thought the sauce would be terrible, and I even made a backup balsamic vinegar + lemon juice + olive oil option, but it was great with the mushroom!

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