La Diva and Her Magical Mushrooms!

Darlings!  These mushrooms are INDEED magical, though not in the way YOU are probably thinking!  (tsk, tsk!)  I find that if there is a food that can add so much flavor and also be used in so many different ways to be not only magical, but a good choice when picking produce at the market.  Versatility is key in La Diva's kitchen!

I got this lovely three pound box of oyster mushrooms as a gift upon a visit to Paradise Farms Organic, down in Homestead, Florida.  Farmer Gabriele knew I'd made good use of them!

The oyster mushroom is quite delicate in texture and flavor.   It's called an oyster mushroom because of it's obvious resemblance in shape to an oyster, but that's it, the mushroom DOES NOT taste like an oyster!   I found a website with some interesting facts about the oyster mushroom, including it's ability to create natural statins, an aid in reducing bad cholesterol.  Click HERE for more fun facts!

La Diva usually does not care for raw mushrooms marinated, raw in salads or side dishes, and I find the common button or cremini mushroom to be quite chalky and bland when eaten without cooking.   However with the oyster mushroom's flavor being so subtle and texture so fragile, I decided I'd put them raw into a salad along with fresh sprouts from Paradise Farms Organic, heirloom tomatoes and mixed greens and topped with Hani's divine artisanal goat cheese!  Not only were they delicious but they created a very beautiful and unique salad, definitely restaurant worthy!

Doesn't this look divine?  A lovely pork roast with potatoes is rubbed with rosemary, olive oil and salt and then stuffed with a breading of oyster mushrooms, garlic, butter and bread crumbs!

La Diva sauteed finely sliced oyster mushrooms in butter and olive oil, added a bit of garlic and rosemary and then mixed it with breadcrumbs.  I cut a nice slit into the middle of the roast, stuffed it and secured it with kitchen string.  The mushroom and garlic flavor the middle of the roast and adds a moist hit of flavor!  The DJ loved it!

After the salad and mushroom stuffed pork roast, I found I still had a LOT of mushies left!  And because they ARE so fragile, I would have to eat them all  as soon as possible.  Now what to make next?

How about a lovely sauteed chicken breast over creamy polenta topped with an oyster mushroom tarragon cream sauce?  For quicker cooking, I cut the breast in half lengthwise, dusted with flour, salt and pepper, browned on both sides and then deglazed the pan with sherry.  I added the mushrooms and let it cook for another 30 seconds to meld the mushrooms with the chicken juices and then served it up!   You know it was DELIZIOSO!   HINT:  Add a 1/2 cup of milk to the chicken broth for an extra creamy polenta!

But La Diva STILL had a good half a box of oyster mushrooms!   I've been making pasta over the summer and thought to myself, why not try ravioli?  I had made pasta quite successfully, and for some reason, I had the determination and patience to give ravioli making a try!

I made the dough and let it chill.  Then I chopped the rest of the oyster mushrooms up fine and cooked them in a combo of butter and olive oil (adding olive oil to the butter means it won't brown) and just a touch of cream, garlic and thyme.  After the cream reduced, I remembered I had white wine, added that and reduced again, creating a concentrated flavor perfect for a ravioli filling.

I let the mushrooms cool in a bowl and then added more of Hani's goat cheese, which is very mild in flavor and has the texture of ricotta, along with grated parmigiano cheese, minced parsley, salt and white pepper.  I tasted it.  Wow!  A FLAVA HIT!~

I rolled out the dough and cut into long strips and then dotted along the strip with a heaping teaspoon of the mushroom cheese filling.  Topped with the other strip of dough and cut into squares and sealing each one with the tines of a fork.

See how they are not completely perfect?  I don't have a pasta machine to roll out the dough, nor do I have a ravioli crimper.  This is a low gadget cucina!  But guess what?  It doesn't matter, the end result will still be a tasty ravioli and practice makes perfect!  These are tres rustique!

I had some extra pasta dough left, so I cut it up and hung it to dry for another dinner!  I boiled the water for the ravioli and put the second tray of ravioli in the freezer.  Once it was solid, I would put it into freezer bags for dinner for another night!

Now, what to TOP the ravioli with?  I thought about plain butter and cheese but I knew the concentrated flavors of the mushroom and cheese mixture could handle a tomato sauce.  I took a handful of wrinkled grape tomatoes that couldn't be used in any salad, tossed them into a hot fry pan of olive oil and whole garlic and Italian herbs, cooked for a few minutes, added red wine and reduced and then pureed the lot and put through a sieve to take away the skins and seeds to leave me with a highly flavored tomato puree.  I swirled a bit of extra virgin into it and tasted it for seasoning!  Da-yum!

After boiling the ravioli for a good five minutes, they expanded and I carefully removed them with a slotted spoon and put into the bowl of sauce, carefully covering each with the rich tomatoes.

And then La Diva served 'em up!

These ravioli are NOT the delicate little pillows you might find at a restaurant or bought at the grocery store.  These were definitely a heartier ravioli and a slightly chewy texture, which I actually love!

Oh dear!  I TRIED to take a nice photo of the gorgeous mushroom filling but the darn thing kept slipping off the fork before I could shoot it.  The meal was hot and La Diva was hungry.  Here's the one shot I got!  haha!

La Diva's rustic oyster mushroom and goat cheese ravioli with savory tomato red wine sauce!  Wow!  I'm glad I've got more in the freezer, the mushroom goat cheese combo was perfect.  Too many times, La Diva has had mushroom ravioli that are bland and blah, not these.  And I liked how the goat cheese complemented the subtle mushroom flavor without overpowering it.

Well done, La Diva!  Three pounds of gorgeous, fresh mushrooms used in four very different ways.  La Diva wants to know:  How would YOU use oyster mushrooms in a meal?  I'd love to hear all about it!

Ciao for now, darlings! x

PS:  If you want to easily grow your own oyster mushrooms, check out my buddies, Back to the Roots Oyster Mushroom Growing Kits on Amazon! Easy peasy!


Farmer Margie said...

hhhmmmmm......I'd come over to your place and eat those magic mushrooms every which way you fix 'em! yum-I want to lick the screen :-)

Roses said...

I'm glad it's early morning and my stomach is not awake, cause I'd be running around salivating by now.

Everything looks so yummy, yummy, yummy.

You are a master.

Buzz Kill said...

First of all, I think they look more like scallops than oysters. I've never used oyster mushrooms before. They look pretty cool.

When I use mushrooms, it's mostly the button or shitake type. And I fry them in butter for steak or steak sandwiches or they go raw into a salad. Yeah, no imagination but these are the ways The Mrs. will eat them.

I'm liking the ravioli and I did a stuffed pork tenderloin a couple of weeks ago (apples and onions) but would like to do that again with mushrooms. I'll bet the DJ ate pretty well this week.

LaDivaCucina said...

Thanks Roses!

Buzzy! I've been wondering how you've fared with hurricane Sandy. I hope you've not seen too much damage and your remodeling complete. Do you have your kitchen back yet? The oyster mushrooms have a very delicate flavor and texture, I think your wife would like them! The best thing about the ravioli? I have more in the freezer!

When are you going to post about the remodel? Keen to see it! Take care, Buzz!