Jhe oyster mushroom is a gift for all cooks, especially those who like a meaty texture. Crispy them in a skillet or roast them in the oven, and they’ll develop a satisfying chew. They’re subtle and earthy but, like all well-bred ingredients, they’re also a great vehicle for bigger, more punchy flavors. Here I loosely based the marinade on the one used for Birria tacos: a tangy, slightly sour chili paste, using my favorite sweet, smoky, chocolatey ancho chiles.
Oyster Mushroom Tacos
It’s not a cheap recipe, but it’s a special and fun meal for two. You can cut the cost (and, in some cases, the packaging) by buying oyster mushrooms from a Chinese supermarket.
Preparation 10 minutes
To cook 50 minutes
For the salsa
½ red onionpeeled and cut into ½ cm dice
20g (5½ tablespoons) coriander leavesfinely chopped
4 tablespoons fresh lime juice (either from 3 or 4 limes)
2 tablespoons of fresh orange juice
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
For the cream
80g vegan mayonnaise
100g vegan yogurt
A pinch of salt
For the mushrooms
2 dried ancho peppers
4 garlic clovespeeled
½ red onionpeeled and roughly chopped
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon dried mexican oreganoor regular dried oregano
200ml orange juice
1¼ teaspoon fine salt
1 tablespoon of tomato puree
500g oyster mushrooms
Heat oven to 200C (180C fan)/390F/Gas 6 and line two large baking sheets with reusable parchment paper.
First prepare the salsa. Put the red onion, cilantro, lime juice, orange juice and salt in a small serving bowl, stir and set aside. Now prepare the cream. In a second small serving bowl, combine the mayonnaise, yogurt and salt and set aside.
Cut the stems off the peppers, roll the peppers between your fingers and thumbs, and shake the seeds vigorously (either save and plant the seeds or compost them). Put the chilies in a small heatproof bowl, pour in enough just-boiled water to cover and let soak for about five minutes. Drain, then put in a blender with the garlic cloves, onion, allspice, oregano, orange juice, salt and tomato purée, and purée.
Put the batter in a bowl, add the oyster mushrooms, toss to coat each, then pour onto the lined trays. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the mushrooms begin to brown.
Halfway through cooking the mushrooms, heat the tacos according to package instructions. I dry fry mine in a skillet over medium-high heat, until blackened in spots but soft, then put them in a large, heavy-covered pan to keep warm.
When the mushrooms are ready, put them in a serving bowl and bring them to the table with the cream, salsa and tortillas, to assemble as you wish – I go to the mushrooms first, followed by a dollop of cream and a spoonful of salsa.