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Farmers Table: Oyster Mushrooms Rockefeller

Time:2016-12-30 07:16wine - Red wine life health Click:

farmers Table Mushrooms Oyster Rockefeller

Farmers Table: Oyster Mushrooms Rockefeller

Several years ago, our neighbor cut a tree on the property line before it tumbled into his house. He left the stump. What most people would view as an eyesore became an asset to my husband. He inoculated the wood with oyster mushroom spawn.

The stump has provided some good meals, but this year’s ideal conditions have produced more ruffled, gray clusters of mushrooms than we could consume or sell. We’ve prepared many versions of mushroom soup, topped tenderloins with mushroom gravy, had our fill of mushroom omelets and created a mock version of the classic Oysters Rockefeller.

The original recipe for Oysters Rockefeller was created at the New Orleans at Antoine’s restaurant in 1899. They were named after American billionaire John D. Rockefeller, because they had a very rich sauce.

The original recipe is a secret. It has oysters on the half-shell topped with parsley and green herbs; a rich, buttery sauce and breadcrumbs. The dish is baked or broiled.

In 1986, a laboratory analysis was done on Oysters Rockefeller. It revealed the primary ingredients in the green mixture were parsley, pureed celery, scallions or chives, olive oil and capers.

Oyster mushrooms have the perfect texture as a substitute for the saltwater bivalve mollusks typically used in Oysters Rockefeller. They do not taste like seafood, but derive their name from their shape and pale gray color.

If you are an expert in mushroom identification, oyster mushrooms can be found in the wild. There are several West Virginia producers who are commercially cultivating them, and they can often be purchased at indoor and outdoor farmers markets throughout the year. Most large supermarkets carry oyster mushrooms, although not locally grown. Canned mushrooms could be substituted, if fresh are not available.

The recipe for Oysters Rockefeller calls for Pernod, an anise-flavored liqueur. Though expensive, it provides the dish with a unique, subtle flavor when added to the kale and shallot mixture.

It is highly unlikely that the original recipe contained Pernod, since it did not appear until after the First World War. Some versions called for Herbsaint, an anise-flavored liquor that wasn’t made until 1934. There is some speculation Pernod Fils absinthe was included in the original recipe, for which Herbsaint and Pernod were later substituted.

Absinthe is a high-alcohol, anise-flavored spirit made from botanicals that was banned in the United States and much of Europe by the early 1900s, because it was thought to have harmful, addictive psychoactive effects,

To avoid purchasing a bottle of Pernod for one recipe and still achieve similar results, try substituting dry sherry or vegetable broth with about ¼ teaspoon of ground fennel for the liqueur.

Oyster Mushrooms Rockefeller makes a perfect appetizer, especially at this time of year. Guests will find the dish wonderfully decadent and will never realize the absence of shellfish.

Oyster Mushrooms Rockefeller

Ingredients:

1½ cups rock salt

12 oyster shells

4 tablespoons butter, divided

5 tablespoons Panko breadcrumbs

¼ cup Parmesan cheese

3 tablespoons shallots, minced

1 cup oyster mushrooms, chopped

1 cup chopped baby kale (or spinach)

¼ cup heavy cream

Tabasco sauce to taste

1 tablespoon Pernod or Herbsaint

3 tablespoons minced parsley

Salt and pepper to taste

Fresh lemon juice (Optional)

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Pour rock salt onto a shallow baking pan. (I used a rimmed pizza pan.) Place cleaned oyster shells into the salt so they are steady.

Melt 4 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet. Transfer 2 tablespoons of butter to a small bowl with the Panko breadcrumbs and Parmesan. Mix and reserve.

Add the shallots to the remaining butter in the skillet and sauté about 3 minutes until the shallots are soft. Add the oyster mushrooms. Sauté for about 5 or 6 minutes until the mushrooms are slightly brown. Add the kale and cook until the kale wilts and there is no moisture left in the mixture. Watch carefully. Add the cream and Tabasco. Cook for an additional minute. Remove from heat.

Stir in Pernod and minced parsley. Taste the oyster mushroom mixture for salt. Add salt, if needed and add some pepper to taste.

Place a heaping tablespoon of oyster mushroom mixture into each oyster shell. Sprinkle with Panko/Parmesan mixture.

Bake 8 to 10 minutes, until the Panko/cheese mixture is browned. Serve with a wedge of lemon.

For questions about recipes or other information, contact Susan Maslowski at mudriverpottery@aol.com or go to our websites at metrokanawha.com and putnamreview.com. Susan also has a Farmer’s Table Facebook page.

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