Crispy pan-seared oyster mushrooms. Rosemary butter. Flecks of salt. What more could you ask for?
Have you noticed that in the last several years, there has been an uptick in mushroom varieties in the grocery store? It's wild! Even fifteen or twenty years ago, I feel like the only mushrooms we'd cook at home were white button, cremini, or portobellos.
Now, I can run to the grocery store and scan through almost a dozen varieties, from maitake to chanterelles to king oysters.
About Oyster Mushrooms
My favorite mushroom varietal, though, has got to be the oyster mushroom. They come in different colors, like blue (which is really more of a grayish-brown tint), yellow, and pink.
Oyster mushrooms vary slightly in flavor depending on the color, but generally, they have a milder flavor. They are somewhat meaty and delicate in taste, with a slight brininess.
When sauteed in a pan with a bit of olive oil and high heat, the caps turn golden and crispy; the stems retain a chewy bite. Mushrooms need a lot of salt, so I always give a generous pinch after I cook them.
Why You'll Love These Mushrooms
I've been cooking a lot of mushrooms over the last year, and my husband and I agree that pan frying them is truly the simplest and most delicious preparation.
- Pan frying and searing is straightforward and yields tasty golden-brown mushrooms with a crispy cap and a slightly chewy stem.
- The two-step method of searing the mushrooms first and then sauteeing them with rosemary and butter creates a buttery, meaty flavor with notes of rosemary and avoids any risk of burning. This method treats every individual mushroom with care, and the result is divine; it really lets the mushroom flavor shine through!
- An optional squeeze of lemon balances out those buttery, rich notes.
How to Select and Store Oyster Mushrooms
You can find oyster mushrooms in supermarkets such as Whole Foods, Wegman's, or Shaw's. I also know several farms and farmer's markets that sell mushrooms, sometimes as part of a "mushroom CSA."
→ If you live in the Boston area, I recommend the Mushroom Shop in Somerville.
→ You can usually find a variety of oyster mushrooms at Asian grocery stores in your area, such as Hmart.
Tips on Selection
- Wrinkly or dried-out mushrooms
- Wet, slimy, or foul-smelling mushrooms
- Mushrooms with smooth caps and a plum, firm appearance
- Dry (but not dried-out) mushrooms
→ Larger mushrooms will be chewier but provide more flavor; smaller mushrooms will be crispier when fried and stay more tender. Choose the type you'd prefer, or use a mix. Yellow, pink, and blue oyster mushrooms will all work here!
Store your mushrooms in the fridge and use within 3 to 4 days; after 4 days, they typically start to wet, slimy, and smelly, but some will last up to a week. Ideally, you should keep the mushrooms in a loosely sealed paper bag or plastic bag -- or the packaging it came in (as long as it has some air vents) in the produce drawer of your fridge.
Cleaning and Prepping
Most oyster mushrooms at the store are cultivated, meaning they're grown under controlled conditions, often indoors. As a result, they won't be "dirty" and require little to no cleaning. I'll typically use a damp paper towel for these mushrooms to remove any dirty spots.
If your oyster mushrooms are quite dirty, gently rinse them under cold water and use a clean toothbrush or a wooden kitchen brush to brush off the dirt.
→ Before cooking, remove any fibrous or tough parts of the mushrooms; these will be too chewy or tough to consume.
→ Oyster mushrooms are typically clustered in a group, and you'll want to remove the tougher central stem and separate them into individual pieces. As mentioned before, the stems will be chewier than the caps. If you don't like a chewier texture, you can remove more of the stem before cooking.
Here's what you'll need:
- Oil: Because we're finishing the mushrooms in butter, I call for a neutral oil with a high smoke point, like canola or peanut oil. You can use olive oil to impart more flavor, but I find that it splatters a lot more.
- Oyster mushrooms: We're using 1 pound of oyster mushrooms to serve about 4 people. You can easily halve this recipe if you'd like!
- Salt: Mushrooms can take a lot of salt. I always salt the mushrooms generously after the first fry, then season them again just before serving.
- Black pepper: A pinch of black pepper adds a nice freshness and heat to the dish without being spicy.
- Unsalted butter: Tossing the fried mushrooms in butter makes this dish so, so luxe. You can also use salted butter here, just make sure to control for the salt when seasoning at other times.
- Rosemary: I'm always shocked at how much flavor the rosemary imparts just by cooking in the butter. This creates a subtle, but definitive rosemary flavor that really builds off the earthiness of the mushrooms. The rosemary really elevates the whole dish!
- Lemon (optional): I generally like brightening up earthier flavors with acid, and a squeeze of lemon does just the trick. This is totally optional though, and the mushrooms will be just as delicious without it!
For a full list of ingredients and quantities, refer to the recipe card.
How to Pan Fry Oyster Mushrooms
Step 1: Clean your mushrooms, then trim off the tougher central, fibrous stem to separate them into individual mushrooms.
Step 2: Tear the mushrooms into pieces slightly larger than bite-sized. If you have smaller oyster mushrooms, they may already be small enough!
Step 3: Heat your oil in a skillet until shimmering. Add the mushrooms in an even layer; you will need to do this in batches to prevent overcrowding. Don't touch them for at least 2 to 3 minutes to ensure they're browning nicely.
Step 4: Using tongs, flip the mushrooms and cook the other side, for about 2 to 3 minutes until nicely browned and crispy on both sides.
Step 5: Remove them from the skillet and transfer to a paper-towel lined plate. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Repeat with the remaining batches.
Step 6: Melt butter in a skillet, and add the sprigs of rosemary. Once melted, toss the mushrooms for a minute or so, then transfer to a serving plate. Season once again and serve immediately!
These mushrooms should be eaten immediately after cooking to stay crispy. However, leftovers are great for tossing in pasta or topping a pizza! They will typically last about 3 to 5 days stored in an airtight container in the fridge.
Pan frying is a cooking method where you typically use a little bit of oil to cook meat or vegetables at a high heat to sear the food. It helps develop a nice crust on the exterior of the food.
Unfortunately, no. King oysters have a thick stem, so they won't crispy up nicely.
A sprig of oregano, thyme, or marjoram would be lovely here!
This is a great question, and if you're cooking up a bunch of mushrooms for a dinner party, oven roasting is a good option.
I personally think pan-frying yields the crispiest, tender texture, but if you need to do this in a pinch, here's what I recommend: Lay out the mushrooms in an even layer on a large parchment-lined baking sheet. Toss them with 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil. Bake in the oven at 425°F/218°C for 10 to 12 minutes, turning halfway through, until browned and crispy. Season with salt and pepper, then proceed with tossing them in the rosemary butter.
These mushrooms are a wonderful option for a side dish. They are honestly so delicious prepared simply, but every now and then I like to be a bit extra!
Here are some fun ways to elevate the dish:
- Serve with labneh: Mix 1 cup labneh or greek yogurt with 1 clove grated garlic, salt, and pepper. Spread the labneh on a serving plate and top with the warm mushrooms.
- Drizzle a little bit of balsamic glaze on top.
For even more cozy recipes, be sure to subscribe to my newsletter.Happy eating! Love, Karishma
Pan Fried Oyster Mushrooms with Rosemary
- Large stainless steel frying pan, or cast-iron skillet
- Stainless steel tongs, for flipping the mushrooms
- 1 pound fresh oyster mushrooms, such as yellow, pink, or blue oyster mushrooms
- Neutral frying oil, such as canola, grapeseed oil, or peanut oil
- Salt and black pepper
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 1 Lemon, optional
- Prep the mushrooms: Clean, trim, and separate any clusters into individual mushrooms. Tear any mushrooms that are 3 inches or bigger into smaller pieces. Pat them dry to remove any excess moisture.Meanwhile, set aside a large paper towel-lined plate.1 pound fresh oyster mushrooms
- Pan fry the mushrooms: Heat 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil in a large stainless steel frying pan or cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Once the oil is shimmering, use tongs to add mushrooms in a single, even layer (you will need to do this in batches). Do not touch the mushrooms for at least 2 minutes, then flip one of the mushrooms with the tongs. If it looks deeply golden-brown in color, it's ready. Depending on the type of stovetop you have, this may take up to 8 minutes.Flip the rest of the mushrooms, then cook for another 2 to 3 minutes until both sides are deeply golden-brown and crispy. Transfer the mushrooms to the paper towel lined plate and sprinkle generously with salt and black pepper. Repeat the frying process with the remaining mushrooms, adding more oil as necessary to coat the bottom of the pan. Transfer the rest of the mushrooms to the plate and turn the heat off. Note: Stovetops vary a LOT in heat production and retention, so it's most important to use visual cues here instead of time-based cues. You're looking mushrooms with a deeply golden-brown crusted exterior.Neutral frying oil, Salt and black pepper
- Finish the mushrooms: Carefully wipe the pan clean, add the butter and rosemary sprigs to the pan, and set over medium-low heat. Once melted, add the mushrooms back into the pan and saute for 1 to 2 minutes until fully coated. Season again with salt and pepper.2 tablespoons unsalted butter, 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- Serve: Remove from the heat and transfer mushrooms to a serving plate. Serve immediately with a squeeze of lemon (if desired).1 Lemon
- I know it seems a bit extra, but flipping each mushroom individually with the tongs ensures a super even crispy coating on every mushroom!
- Prep: Oyster mushroom stems are a bit chewy - I personally love the contrast in textures, but if this isn't your jam, you can trim some of the stems or omit them.
- Lay out the mushrooms in an even layer on a large parchment-lined baking sheet. Toss them with 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil.
- Bake at 425°F/218°C for 10 to 12 minutes, turning halfway through, until browned and crispy.
- Season with salt and pepper. You can make this up to a few hours ahead, then proceed with the rest of the recipe and toss them in the rosemary butter just before serving.