The French and Latin names come from the Greek "pleura" meaning "side," and "ous, otos" meaning "ear."
Edible basidiomycete mushroom with a funnel-shaped cap which can reach 12 cm in diameter. The stem is short and off-center.
The oyster mushroom grows from October to March on dead wood or on the trunks of deciduous trees. The shell-shaped or oyster-shaped varieties of this mushroom have white flesh, but their cap may be white, pink, yellow, gray or dark brown. The color depends on the variety and the growing conditions. Young oyster mushrooms have a cap which ranges in colour from dark gray to steel blue; when mature, they turn pale brown. Under the cap are white or pale grey gills.
Nutritional values per 100 g
A good source of niacin, riboflavin and iron.
Buying oyster mushrooms
These mushrooms should not be either too moist nor too dry: the cap should be as intact as possible. It is important that any white threads be removed. These are an obvious sign of the mushroom's continued development, since oyster mushrooms continue growing after being picked and form mycelia.
The younger the oyster mushroom, the more tender it will be, and the less it will shrivel up when cooked.
Oyster mushrooms should be firm (not slimy) and plump (with no wrinkles).
It should not have any red or green patches and should have a pleasant smell. Its characteristic smell is a little like anise.
Oyster mushrooms are probably the most perishable of mushrooms and vegetables in general. They must be kept between 1 and 4 degrees C. They should be kept in a container which is neither tightly sealed nor too open. Under these conditions they will last for up to two weeks after being picked.
Oyster mushrooms must not be washed. Scrape them with a knife blade or brush them off. The caps can also be wiped clean using a damp cloth. Cut off any spoiled sections as well as the earthy bottom of the stem.
Oyster mushrooms can be cooked in a pan with or without fat, but always on low heat to start, in order to "sweat" them. When their cooking water has evaporated, they can then be braised or sautéed or added to stews. Firm and flavourful, oyster mushrooms need to be well-cooked and make a delicious accompaniment to meats, whitefish and scallops. Since the stem is tougher, it is better to remove it and cook it first, or chop it up.
Hungary - oyster mushroom goulash - sauté oyster mushrooms, onion and garlic in butter. Add vegetable stock, diced potatoes, bayleaf, cumin and tomato purée. Cover and let cook 15 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Heat paprika in a spoonful of butter and stir into the goulash.
Greece - barbecued - cook gill-side down first. Turn, sprinkle with Greek olive oil, fresh lemon juice and sea salt.
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