King oyster mushrooms are becoming increasingly common in markets, but few people know how to cook them.
What’s interesting is that I have never seen king oyster mushrooms in the wild, only in stores; that’s because they are not native to the United States. You used to see them only in Asian markets, but now you can find them in a lot of supermarkets.
I bought some king oyster mushrooms the other day, and reckoned they’d best be cooked by slicing them into rings and sauteing them. I happened to have some spiced Ethiopian butter lying around, so I used that as the fat. When the mushrooms were done, they looked exactly like crispy fried potatoes! The floral, spicy butter and the meaty texture of the mushrooms make this a dish all by itself, with no need for anything else.
King oyster mushrooms are meaty, moreso even than a portobello, but not as firm as lobster mushrooms or porcini. Any mushroom you can slice into meaty rings will work here.
The key to the recipe is high heat, and the quick dry cooking of the mushrooms before adding the butter. This removes some of their water and improves their texture.
You don’t need to use the special butter, although it is wonderful. You can sub in any sort of high-quality butter, but since it is the co-star of this dish, you will notice if the butter is of poor quality.
Fried King Oyster Mushrooms
- 4 to 6 king oyster mushrooms, as straight as you can find them
- 2 to 3 tablespoons Ethiopian spiced butter, or regular butter
- Salt to taste
- Slice the mushrooms into rings about 1/4 inch thick. Heat a large frying pan over high heat for 2 minutes, then lay the mushroom rings down in the pan -- dry. Shake the pan a bit to keep the mushrooms moving (they will squeak). Turn the heat down to medium-high and keep shaking the pan often until the mushrooms begin to release their water.
- After the water has been sizzling out of the mushrooms for a minute or two, you will hear the sizzle sound change. When you hear this, add the butter and swirl the pan to coat. Toss a little salt in, too -- maybe a teaspoon or so.
- Toss the mushrooms to evenly coat them with the butter and cook on medium heat until the edges of both sides brown. Remove and serve immediately.