I’ve always loved mushrooms, ever since I was little. My dad used to make big dishes of scrambled eggs on Sunday mornings, and my favorite part was the sautéed mushrooms. They’re just so meaty and flavorful, and they really enhance any dish they’re in. This week at the Newburyport Farmer’s Market, I saw these beautiful, bright-yellow oyster mushrooms and knew I had to try them. They’re grown in town by Shady Oaks Organics. They’re super fresh and tasty, and add a fun depth of color.
You can find their mushrooms at area farmer’s markets, Joppa Fine Foods, and The Natural Grocer, among other places. Or just head over to Enzo in Newburyport and try them in the Pan-Roasted Gnocchi with Mushrooms (pan-roasted house-made gnocchi with a light, creamy sauce of oyster mushrooms, leeks and Swiss chard…yum!) or the Brussels Sprout Salad (brussels sprout leaves, roasted oyster mushrooms, candied pancetta, focaccia croutons with pancetta-molasses vinaigrette and topped with a perfectly poached organic egg). Not your Grandma’s brussels sprouts. Both dishes are unreal – who even knew you could make pancetta better? Candied…so delicious.
The great thing about cooking with mushrooms is they are so versatile and welcome in so many different dishes. If you’re feeling up to a little kitchen experimentation, here’s my recipe for a hearty chicken dish I made with the oyster mushrooms. It’s fresh, juicy, and flavorful.
- 5 fresh chicken legs, rinsed and dried
- 1 can light coconut milk
- 1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
- 50 grams grey oyster mushrooms, removed from white pith and chopped.
- 50 grams golden oyster mushrooms, removed from white pith but reserved whole.
- sea salt & pepper to taste
The beauty of this dish is helped by waiting to add the golden mushrooms until the last 5 or so minutes of cooking, so they still look vibrant and fresh.
Preheat the oven to 425. Line a large, deep baking pan with parchment paper. Place the chicken legs in the pan, and rub the sea salt in between the skin and meat, and on top of the skin to make it extra juicy. (When you rinse the chicken, you can slide your hand between the skin and meat to separate.) Pour the coconut milk into the pan and make sure the chicken is covered evenly. (I used light coconut milk here, because I wanted more of the liquid, rather than the heavy cream that makes up much of the regular coconut milk cans.)
Rub the cilantro and chopped grey mushrooms into the chicken under the skin, and sprinkle the cilantro on top of the chicken as well. If you have leftover chopped mushrooms, sprinkle them throughout the pan to create a sauce with the coconut milk and pan drippings. Add some fresh ground pepper on top, and you’re good to pop it into the oven! Let it cook for 45-50 minutes, then take out and add the golden mushrooms. Let cook for another 5 minutes. Oven times may vary – I use a very old oven, it’s at least 30 years old – so just watch it in case your oven cooks faster than my ancient guy.
I have to say, I was really excited about this chicken when it came out! It was tender, juicy, and almost had that “meat falling off the bone” quality about it. It makes great leftovers, especially if you save the mushroom sauce to keep it flavorful through reheats. Just add a few fresh mushrooms if you have any, sprinkle a little more cilantro, and you’re good to go! A squeeze of lime or some kaffir lime leaves wouldn’t hurt either, but I’ll have to wait until next time to try…