Pleurotis ostreotis

The delectible oyster mushroom, one of my favorites for stir-frying and pasta primavera. With a cap color that ranges from pure white to tan or light grey, it grows in shelves on felled logs, standing snags, even straw bales or fresh mulch. The flesh ranges from white to tan to gray, gills are off-white or slightly gray, spores are light gray, and the smell is mild and slightly farinacious (to me the smell vaguely resembles corn meal and fruit.)

You can find oyster mushrooms growing fresh under cellophane wrap in most good produce markets, and it seems to be increasing in popularity as a commercially grown mushroom. But during the start of the rainy season it's plentiful and free in the forest, so I prefer to harvest mine fresh.

The texture of the oyster mushroom comes closer to oysters than does its flavor, which is much lighter than the mollusk and not at all fishy (at least in my opinion.) The short stalk at the base of the cap is tough, so if you don't want to cook the mushroom for a very long time, just use the fleshy part of the cap. P. osreatus is excellent breaded and stir-fried, but I prefer to avoid all the grease, so I am more inclined to sautée them quickly with a bit of sesame or almond oil, tossing in some veggies and a bit of shoyu or fish sauce in a wok on a high flame. Use this mushroom when it's fresh - if you try to dry it, you'll be disappointed with its leathery toughness and wimpy broth.

Here are a few recipes that use Pleurotis ostreatus: