Grilled King Oyster Mushrooms a la NYT

March 19, 2008

When we were called and asked to prepare a dish for Kim Severson’s “Fat Pack” article in the New York Times that the photographer could watch me cook that very weekend, we took one look in the refrigerator and noticed we had a package of great, big, phallic King Oyster eryngii mushrooms, along with our usual staples of soy sauce, hot chile peppers and scallions.

“How about grilled King Oyster Mushrooms?” Rachel said to Phaedra, the NYT Dining Section photo editor.

“Great! We’ll be there Saturday morning at 9am”.

The resulting recipe that was used in my photo that accompanies the piece — which was originally intended to be published but ended up on the cutting room floor — pretty much came together last minute as the photographer was setting up. My idea was to replace the fattening butter yaki that typically is used as the prime flavor component of this dish with something more like a teriyaki sauce or a Korean BBQ marinade, but with an Awase Miso and fresh chili punch, and using a small amount of molasses instead of sugar.

Grilled King Oyster Mushrooms

1 bunch Scallions
2 tsp Awase Miso paste
1 tsp Ginger, grated
1 clove Garlic pureed
1 small Hot Red Pepper, minced
1/4 tsp White Pepper, freshly ground
1 tsp Molasses
2 Tbs Soy Sauce
1 Tbs Rice Vinegar
2 Tbs Chicken Broth (optional, use water if a vegetarian dish is desired)
1 tsp Roasted Sesame Oil
1 pound King Oyster Mushrooms
1/2 tsp Sesame Seeds

Clean scallions and separate the white part from the green. Slice the scallion greens and reserve for garnish. Mince the scallion whitesand put in a bowl with the miso paste, grated ginger, garlic, minced red pepper, white pepper, molasses, soy sauce, rice vinegar, broth or water, and sesame oil. Stir to combine.

Begin heating your grill pan or outdoor grill. Lightly spray the grate with cooking oil, or use a silicone basting brush to apply a scant amount of oil.

Slice the king oyster mushrooms lengthwise into 1/3 inch thick planks. Brush one side of each mushroom slice with the glaze as you place it, glaze side down, on the grill. Then brush the tops of all the slices. Grill for 3-4 minutes on each side, turning when the underside is well marked and basting to use up the glaze.

Serve hot or at room temperature, garnish with reserved scallion greens and sesame seeds. Serve with brown rice as a side dish (serves 4) or main course (serves 2). The leftovers are great sliced and added to a salad.


‘Shroom Insanity

December 30, 2007

I like mushrooms. A Lot.

I do know some people that hate mushrooms, I guess because of texture reasons. Some are legitimately allergic to them. But those of us that truly love mushrooms — that could eat obscene amounts of them in a single session — we’re a unique and proud bunch.

Mushrooms, those weird and wonderful fungi are not without their health benefits either. They’re very low in calories (as they are about 80 or 90 percent water) and high in fiber. They are naturally high in potassium as well as riboflavin and niacin, and especially high in selenium, a powerful antioxidant that is sort of a sidekick to Vitamin E that protects your body’s cells against free radicals which can cause cancer. Additionally, white button mushrooms, criminis and portabellas contain substances called aromatase inhibitors which prevent both prostate and breast cancer. Shiitakes contain Lentinan, which appears to stimulate the immune system and protects against flu and other infectious diseases, as well as suppress tumoral activity. Those of you that hate the ‘Shroom should take all of that under consideration.

In any case, health benefits aside, Rachel and I just love ‘Shrooms. So we were happy to find a dish out of the Reversing Diabetes Cookbook called Mushroom Madness that used a lot of them. We decided to improve this recipe a bit by amping up the Asian condiments and the garlic and ginger, and using even MORE mushrooms.

‘Shroom Insanity

2 Tbs. Soy Sauce, divided

1 tsp. of prepared Chinese Chili Paste

1 tsp. sesame oil

8 oz. of Pressed Tofu or “Soy Chicken” (or any Vegan meat substitute, such as Wheat Gluten), sliced

4 Cloves of garlic, peeled and minced

1 large thumb of Fresh Ginger, grated

6 cups sliced Mushrooms (We used Shiitakes, Enoki, King Oysters. But White Mushrooms, Portobella, Crimini, or any kind of edible mushroom in combination is good.)

1 bunch of green onions, whites and greens separated, chopped.

1 cup Bean Sprouts

1 can of water-packed Bamboo Shoot Tips, drained. If you can get fresh hearts of bamboo (like you can during the wintertime) even better.

6 Tbs. Broth (Chicken, Vegetable)

1 Tbs. Dry Sherry

1/2 Tbs. Oyster Sauce or Mushroom Oyster (Vegetarian) Sauce

1/2 Tbs. Hoisin Sauce

1/2 Tbs. Black Bean Sauce or Chinese Fermented Black Beans

1 tsp. Cornstarch

1 Tbs. Cold Water

Combine sesame oil, 1 tbs of Soy Sauce and chili paste in a container with a tight fitting lid. Add pressed tofu, shake evenly to coat. Marinate while preparing other ingredients (at least 10 minutes), shaking and inverting container 2 or 3 times. Remove tofu from marinade and drain.

Mix broth, sherry, 1 T of Soy Sauce, hoisin, oyster sauce and black bean paste in a small bowl and set aside. Mix cornstarch and water together in a small bowl.

Brush about 1 tsp sesame oil in hot wok (use a silicone basting brush, or use spray oil). Add scallion whites, cook until translucent. Add garlic and ginger. Add tofu, stir fry for 3 or 4 minutes. Remove from wok.

Brush a little more oil on wok. Add mushrooms and stir fry for 3-4 minutes. Pour in sherry/broth/condiment mixture, simmer for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add bean sprouts, bamboo shoots (unless they are the fresh ones, in which case, you should stir fry them with the ‘shrooms), cooked tofu, and most of the scallion greens, reserving some for garnish.

Pour cornstarch mixture into wok, stirring constantly until sauce has thickened.

Serve over brown rice and garnish with scallion greens, with steamed Chinese green vegetables on the side (Gai Lan, Choy Sum Chinese Bokchoy, Mustard Greens, etc) with a drizzle of Oyster Sauce.


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