There were a few specific foods I was not very fond of as a kid. Most notably: pickles, onions (more so in their raw form) and mushrooms.
After years of avoiding this trio at all costs, at some point I slowly acquired an appreciation for all three. I now utilize onions on an almost daily basis in some form or another. I enjoy mushrooms at least once a week, and I make an array of pickled vegetables at home.
The world of mushrooms is quite extensive, and over the past few years, they’ve become much more accessible at our farmers’ markets.
This past week, thanks to the heavy rains experienced a few weeks ago, the local Chanterelle mushrooms emerged.
This meaty mushroom is a favorite of chefs and culinary enthusiasts, harvested beneath the oak trees.
With a very limited window each year, they tend to come and go in the blink of an eye so make sure to pick some up while you can.
Another variety I just recently discovered that is being grown by Golden State Papaya Co. in limited quantity is the tarragon oyster mushroom. This relatively rare variety of mushroom that hails from the British Isles delivers a very enticing smell and taste reminiscent of the herb tarragon, making it one of the tastiest of its kind I’ve experienced.
There are a number of ways to prepare mushrooms at home, which can vary depending on the variety, but I generally find heating at a high temperature yields to best results texturally.
You should refrain from ever rinsing mushrooms, which can negatively alter their texture. Instead wipe any sediment away with a paper towel.
Unlike the chanterelle mushrooms, which can be quite dirty, oyster mushrooms tend to be really clean when purchased.
This week I prepared pan-seared tarragon oyster mushrooms infused with garlic, butter and fresh thyme. They’re excellent when served with a nice grilled steak, or roasted chicken.
Pan-Seared Tarragon Oyster Mushrooms
8 ounces tarragon oyster mushroom
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped (leaves only no stems. You can also just add 4-5 sprigs of fresh thyme and remove them before serving.)
Salt and pepper to taste.
Cut the mushrooms off the cluster into generally even pieces. Discard the thicker stem portions, but leave some of the stem that’s connected to the main mushroom top. Add olive oil evenly to the base of a sauté pan (I like using a cast iron pan for this) and turn to medium-high heat.
Add mushrooms to the pan as close to a single layer as possible, and let cook without turning, about 3 minutes. Then flip and cook for about 3 more minutes on the other side.
Add garlic, butter, and thyme and toss a couple of times and allow butter to melt throughout. Then let cook for about 3 more minutes, or until the garlic is just cooked through and the mushrooms are well browned and slightly crispy. Season with salt and pepper as desired to taste.
Yield: Serves 2.