Cook 'Em Crispy Addendum (the details that won't fit on a fridge magnet)
If you’re a Hodgins Harvest farmers’ market customer, you may have grabbed one of our “Cook ‘Em Crispy” magnets from our booth. Or if you purchased a grow kit from us online, you most likely received a magnet along with your kit. However you came across it, the Cook ‘Em Cripsy recipe is a great starting point for cooking with our mushrooms. Sautéing any wood-loving mushroom until it crisps up a little in the pan is a sure-fire way to get the most umami bang for your buck. You can use any mushroom you buy from us (or grow from our kits) along with this simple recipe, but there are a few species-related details that are worth mentioning:
Oyster (including Pink and Golden)
My favorite way to get oyster mushrooms crispy is to rip them apart into shreds lengthwise, a la pulled pork. I’ll discard only the very bottom nub of the stems if it feels tough, you can eat most of it when prepared with this method. There’s something about shredding oysters with your hands that just opens up more surface area than if sliced with a knife. That increased surface area lets the moisture out, allowing the mushrooms to crisp up nicely, and also helps absorb the flavors of the wine and fat of choice in the process. The same method can be used with Black Pearls/Kings, although read below for another option.
Black Pearl/King Trumpet Oysters
My go-to method for Black Pearls and Kings is to slice the stem into cross sections, creating round medallions. These sauté up wonderfully and will crisp up around the edges but maintain a tender and slightly chewy center. I call them mushrooms scallops.
Hen-of-the-Woods (aka Maitake)
Like oysters, I rips apart the delicate fronds of “hen” into bite-sized pieces. Hen is tender throughout and you can eat every last piece of it that’s included in the box.
Black Poplar (aka Piopinni)
I always use a knife for Black Poplars, because they require some precision. I remove the caps from the stems first, slice up the caps, then chop the stems into roughly 2 inch pieces. Then I slice the pieces of stem lengthwise until I have tiny little “sticks” of black poplar stem. Like tearing the oysters, this opens up a lot of surface area and allows the mushrooms to crisp up nicely. Black Poplar are the variety that I get the most crispy of any mushroom we sell, once thoroughly browned and crunchy they have an unmistakable bacon-ey flavor.
Chestnuts (aka Cinnamon Caps)
Chestnuts are one of my favorite varieties to eat, but probably the least crisp-able of the mushrooms we grow. I normally cut off the bottom third of the stem and sauté chestnuts whole. They will get slightly brown around the edges but mostly hold their shape and water content after cooking. They’re great on their own with a splash of vinegar or my favorite dish to add them to is a warm pasta salad with rigatoni, cherry tomatoes, fresh herbs from the garden and a nice pecorino romano cheese.
These are the most ubiquitous variety we grow and cooking 'em crispy is no secret. Remove the stems and save them for stock, slice the caps up and sauté away. I love to add about a tablespoon of tahini right at the end of cooking shiitakes, mix it in to coat the mushrooms, wait until it browns slightly then serve immediately.