I have to admit that I’m not a lover of dense, earthy mushrooms, which is why I’m always delighted to get a delivery of these beautiful, delicate oyster mushrooms. Their subtle flavour copes with ginger brilliantly. Mind you, some of the oyster mushrooms for sale in supermarkets have no more flavour than their packaging and can’t cope with anything. Very fresh, pink-gilled field mushrooms would be a good substitute or, similarly, fresh shiitakes. We add the gingered butter at the end to leave the ginger flavour clean and fresh, and so that the butter can act as a sauce on the plate. You will need only half or less of the wasabi mash, a tablespoon each is enough to work as a foil for the mushrooms.
MAKE THE MASH FIRST as frying the mushrooms only takes a couple of minutes. Soften half of the butter and stir the ginger into it. Trim any tough stalks from the mushrooms. Tear large mushrooms into two or three pieces, leave smaller ones whole. Slowly melt the rest of the butter in a wide shallow pan. Just as it begins to froth, put in the mushrooms, turn up the heat a little and cook the mushrooms at a gently sizzling fry, turning them now and then and generally giving them plenty of attention. Oyster mushrooms don’t leak juices like other mushrooms, so if they’re not cooking in the butter they’re not cooking. Add a generous sprinkling of salt in the early stages of the cooking to help tease out the little juice they do have. They will shrink and colour a little as they cook, and should be done in three to five minutes. Use a knife or fork to check their tenderness, then put in the gingered butter, stir it once and take the pan off the heat immediately.
Put small mounds of wasabi mash on plates and surround this with the mushrooms. Spoon every last drop of the buttery pan juices over the mushrooms.
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