Oyster mushrooms, the common name for the species?Pleurotus ostreatus, are one of the most common types of cultivated mushrooms in the world. They're also known as pearl oyster mushrooms or tree oyster mushrooms. The funghi grow naturally on and near trees in temperate and subtropic forests around the world, and they're grown commercially in many countries. Oyster mushrooms are eaten in a variety of cuisines and are especially popular in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean cooking. They can be dried and are typically eaten cooked.
What Are Oyster Mushrooms?
Oyster mushrooms are beloved the world over for their delicate texture and mild, savory flavor. The mushrooms typically have broad, thin, oyster- or fan-shaped caps and are white, gray, or tan, with gills lining the underside. The caps are sometimes frilly-edged and can be found in clusters of small mushrooms or individually as larger mushrooms. Oyster mushrooms are more expensive than white button mushrooms but less so than rarer mushrooms like?morels, and take little prep since they can be used whole or chopped. They are even used to make mycelium furniture and many other products.
How to Cook With Oyster Mushrooms
Like all mushrooms, oyster mushrooms act almost like sponges, soaking up any water they come into contact with. Don't leave them sitting in water, even for the sake of cleaning them. Cultivated oyster mushrooms usually don't need much cleaning?simply wipe off any bits here or there with a dry paper towel. A damp paper towel can be used on extra dirty mushrooms.
Cleaned mushrooms can be saut?ed, stir-fried, braised, roasted, fried, or grilled. Use the mushrooms whole, sliced, or simply torn into appropriately sized pieces.
While you can eat oyster mushrooms raw and they can be quite pretty added to salads, they tend to have a slightly metallic flavor when uncooked. Cooking brings out their delicate flavor, turning their spongy texture into something uniquely velvety. We recommend using oyster mushrooms for cooked dishes and using button mushrooms for salads and other raw dishes.
Dried oyster mushrooms don't need to be soaked to be rehydrated the way other dried mushrooms do?just add them to the dish, and they will soak up liquid right away.
What Do Oyster Mushrooms Taste Like?
Oyster mushrooms tend to have a subtle, savory anise flavor. Because their flavor is mild, without the strong earthiness of some mushroom varieties, they work well in a range of different dishes. Oyster mushrooms also take on a tender, pleasing texture when cooked. Cooking methods like frying, roasting, and grilling can retain more texture in the mushrooms while braising and saut?ing makes them softer.