Roasted Oyster Mushrooms with Corn Raita

There are many good reasons to eat mushrooms - they’re low in calories, naturally anti-inflammatory, high in vitamins and antioxidants and burst with flavor. Oyster mushrooms in particular contain ergothioneine, a unique antioxidant that promotes cell growth in our bodies. In traditional Chinese medicine, they have been used as a tonic for the immune system for thousands of years. The white mushrooms resemble oysters, have a sweet earth fragrance and can be found growing in the wild on dead or fallen trees. I have experimented with dozens of ways to cook them, but at home, oven roasting is the way to go. They will cook through and hold their shape beautifully and, if over- cooked slightly, may collapse - but fear not, they will still taste delicious. Cardamom here gives oyster mushrooms a fragrant finish to offset the earthy notes, and the grilled corn raita supplies a fitting creamy finish. The mushrooms may be served warm or at room temperature.

ingredients

MUSHROOMS

1-2 large-lobed oyster mushrooms (roughly 1 pound total)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon ground cardamom

2-3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

CORN RAITA

2 medium-sized ears of corn

1 1/2 cups plain yogurt, nonfat or with fat

1/2 serrano pepper, minced

1/2 teaspoon toasted ground cumin

1 tablespoon chopped mint

1 teaspoon salt

Sprinkle of chili powder (optional)

 

instructions

MUSHROOMS

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Cut the mushrooms into 3-4 large segments, leaving the overall shape intact. Place them on a greased baking sheet and sprinkle with the salt, black pepper and cardamom.

  2. Drizzle the olive oil over the spices and place the pan in the oven for 5-7 minutes. Watch it carefully or the mushrooms may overcook or burn.

  3. Remove the tray from the oven and let the mushrooms rest for 2-3 minutes before serving.

CORN RAITA

  1. Grill the ears of corn over an open flame or a grill and remove the kernels.

  2. Combine with yogurt, serrano, cumin, mint and salt. Sprinkle with chili powder and serve.

ideas / variations

  • The mushrooms can also be chopped up and added to a salad or sandwich

  • If there are no large mushrooms to be found, use smaller ones but reduce the cooking time.

  • If you cannot grill corn, either boil the ears in salted water for 3-5 minutes or wrap them in foil and roast in a 350-degree oven for 15 minutes.