Called simply “eringi” (エリンギ) in Japanese, Pleurotus eryngii also bears such names as king trumpet or king oyster. Together with the more famous oyster mushroom (Pleurotus ostreatus) it belongs to the Pleurotus genus. In the wild this mushroom grows together with the roots of Eryngium plants, hence the Latin name, but it is widely cultivated too. Even though king oyster grows in the Middle East, Northern Africa and even Southern Europe, it is particularly appreciated in Asian countries, especially in China, Korea and Japan. I think they are not often cultivated and not easily found in Europe (apart from the wild ones in the South), but I am lucky to find them sometimes imported from Korea (where it is called saesongi 새송이 ).
The film below (click here to see it directly at Youtube) presents a Korean king oyster farm (I adore the funny way they grow in pots!) and shows the passion the Koreans have for this mushroom:
King oyster mushroom doesn’t seem very attractive when raw – it doesn’t have any smell or taste. However, once stir-fried or grilled, it develops a subtle, inimitable aroma and the famous “umami” (うま味) or 5th primary taste. Apart from the elegant and sophisticated flavour I also adore this mushroom for its meaty texture. I think it’s perfect quickly fried or grilled, served with teriyaki sauce. It is a wonderful starter, goes very well with grilled meat, but due to its delicate flavour it shouldn’t be served with hot or/and spicy dishes.
Preparation: 15 minutes
Ingredients (serves 4):
400g eringi mushrooms
neutral tasting oil
6 tablespoons mirin
4 tablespoons soy sauce (or 3 if you have low sodium soy sauce)
2 teaspoons sugar
6 tablespoons sake
Bring mirin and sake to boil, add the soy sauce and the sugar. Stir until the sugar is dissolved and put aside, keeping it warm.
Clean the mushrooms if they are a bit dirty and cut them in two lengthwise.
Heat a non-stick pan or a grill.
Brush them with a bit of oil on each side.
Grill the king oysters or stir-fry until they are slightly browned (about 2 minutes on each side).
Put them on a warmed plate.
If you use a grill, bring the teriyaki to boil once more, let it thicken a bit and pour over the mushrooms.
If you use a non-stick pan, pour the teriyaki on it (don’t wash the pan after having take out the mushrooms) and let it caramelise for about 1 minute.
Pour the teriyaki over the mushrooms.