Green Beans With Oyster Mushrooms
“Nature alone is antique, and the oldest art a mushroom.” –Thomas Carlyle
Oyster mushrooms—those bell-capped stem clusters that are cooked a la plancha and served in tapas bars all over Spain—are featured here. Their flat caps make them the ideal mushrooms to lay in a hot pan, pressed down until the caps sizzle and brown. The green beans are steam sautéed with garlic and anchovies that fade into the background but add depth of flavor. The golden mushrooms, stirred in at the end, transport this dish to an opulently gratifying realm befitting their silky texture, pearly finish, and fragrance reminiscent of oysters from the sea. You could leave out the anchovies, but they amp up the meaty flavor of the mushrooms without tasting fishy.
This is an ideal dish to serve at holiday meals since you can sauté the mushrooms and finish off the fresh-cooked complementary green beans quickly at the last minute.
- 1/2 pound oyster mushrooms
- 2 tablespoons ghee or extra-virgin olive oil
- 3/4 pound green beans, ends trimmed
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 4 anchovy fillets, minced
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup water
1. Cut the stems off of the oyster mushrooms, and separate them. (They’re usually clean, so no need to wash them.) Warm 1 tablespoon of the ghee over medium heat in a large skillet. Add the mushrooms, sprinkle with salt, and cook, pressing them flat with a metal spatula until golden, about 4 minutes. Turn the mushrooms and cook until golden on the other side. Remove from the pan and set aside.
2. Add the remaining ghee to the same pan with the green beans, garlic, anchovies, and a sprinkling of salt and pepper. Add the water, stir to combine, and cover. Cook until the green beans are tender, 5 to 8 minutes.
3. Uncover and sauté 2 to 3 minutes; if there’s any liquid left, let the water evaporate first.
4. Stir in the mushrooms to heat through and serve immediately.
Opt for the smaller-size (2- to 3-inch) mushrooms for this recipe.
Oyster mushrooms are so named because of their resemblance to oysters in texture, finish, and aroma. Varying in color from white to cream to butter yellow to rust, they grow primarily on wood and tend to fan out over other mushrooms. Though Dickinson called the mushroom itself “the Elf of plants” (and the smaller-sized ones are optimal for this recipe), oyster mushrooms can grow to almost a foot across, creating what look like the quaint roofs of a whole village of elfin dwellings.