While gilled mushrooms are more often poisonous than their pored pals, there are countless edible mushrooms with gills, including pearly shelled oyster mushrooms. Oyster mushrooms have been domesticated and can now be farmed, but the wild mushrooms have a stronger flavor than the store bought varieties- they’re definitely worth the trip to the woods.
We found these oyster mushrooms on a dying tree at the end of a foraging day. We were headed back to the car, but in a desperate attempt to not leave empty handed I scurried down a side loop, my companions following reluctantly behind. It was then I stopped in amazement- right on the side of the trail, blossoming out of every foot of this tall, dead tree were gorgeous clusters of white shells. Now it was time to plan for dinner.
I decided to make tacos with four elements- a meaty, umami focus, a fresh crunch, a bring, creamy sauce and a touch of sweet and tropical.
I made a very simple, slightly sweet, purple cabbage slaw from ingredients I had lying around. I used my mandolin to slice them all into thin strips. and tossed them in a very simple vinegar based dressing.
I made a creamy, light green, cilantro filled cashew sauce. Cashews are an easy way to get a quick vegan cream sauce- just make sure to let the cashews soak in water for at least 10 minutes before blending to avoid a grainy texture. The sweet element was simple- I just added some fresh mango, and was good to go.
All that remained were the oyster mushrooms. Because they’re wild I like to cook them extra long- you’re never really sure what exactly that mushroom has been up to in its life in the forest, and a little extra cook might just burn away a threat you never knew was there. Some mushrooms (like morels) are actually poisonous when consumed raw, so its a good idea to always cook your foraged treasures rather than take the risk. If you got your oyster mushrooms from the store, you might not need to cook them as long as I did.
When all of your ingredients are ready, scoop a little of each into a taco shell and enjoy!
Wild Oyster Mushroom Tacos
- 1/4 cabbage
- 1/2 onion
- 1 red pepper
- 1 carrot
- 2 tbsp. vinegar
- 1 tsp. agave
- 1/2 tsp. salt
Cilantro Cashew Cream
- 1/2 cup cashew
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup cilantro
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 small lemon
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 lb oysters, strips
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp curry
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- 1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar
- One package of small tortillas
- One mango, sliced
1. Slice the cabbage, carrot, pepper and onion thinly. Whisk the agave, vinegar and salt together and poor over the slaw. Toss to spread the dressing and set aside.
2. Soak cashews for 10 or more minutes. After the cashews have soaked blend all the ingredients for the cream together.
3. Slice the mushrooms into strips. Heat oil, and add spices. Throw in mushrooms in and saute for a few minutes before adding the balsamic and soy sauce. Cook for 10 minutes, until darker in color and softer.
4. Cut mango into strips. Assemble the tacos with the slaw, mango, cashew cream and mushrooms.