While the oyster mushroom is oriental in origin, it is the one fungus that, like Fellini's film combines the sensual textures of the ocean and terra firma. When sauteed, the softened wavy mushroom caps resemble an oyster's bi-valve outer skirt, with a taste combining a voluptuous oyster and an earthy mushroom. Slow-cooked creamy rice is finished with parmesan cheese; all ingredients were picked up at this 99c only Store. If oyster mushrooms are not readily available, regular button mushrooms are fine.
To psyche up for this culinary adventure, L.A. locals can check out the exhibition of Fellini's dream drawings currently at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences on Wilshire Blvd. through April 19th (click here for info). "Amarcord" made a big impression on the Chef when he first saw it, and it holds up. Here is the movie trailer of "Amarcord", and if the new print comes to your local theater be sure to catch it on the big screen.
Play the trailer here.
Ingredients (serves 2 - 4)
2 packages of 99.99 cent oyster mushroom (3.5oz each) or any type of fresh mushroom
2 cups of rice
5 cups of warm water or broth (vegetable or chicken) with tough ends of mushroom stems
1 cup of 99.99 cent white wine
1/2 fine chopped onion
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1/2 stick of butter or 1/4 cup of olive oil
1/4 cup of 99.99 cent dried parmesan cheese
fresh herbs if you got them, about a tbsp. roughly chopped (parsley, sage or thyme)
salt and pepper to taste when serving
Start to warm 5 cups of water or broth. Chop up a few of the tougher ends from oyster mushroom clusters and add to water for a mushroom broth. Over low/medium heat, melt butter in a wide bottom pan or pot, and saute roughly chopped mushrooms; keep pieces large like broccoli florets and chop the stem clusters a little finer so they cook more tender. Saute for about 5-10 minutes until oyster mushrooms are soft and tender (try one, nothing better than a mushroom sauteed in butter). Set aside mushrooms - to be added the last few minutes of cooking.
Saute onion and garlic until soft, about 5-10 minutes. Next, add the rice and saute until white color changes to semi-transparent, about another 5-10 minutes. Time for the liquid. Add cup of 99.99 cent white wine and cook until it is absorbed, then start adding warm oyster broth a cup at a time until it is absorbed by the rice. Stir and repeat, adding broth as rice absorbs it. Rice should be close to cooked after 20 minutes, soft but a little firm when bit; the chalky dry rice taste will fade with cooking. Finish cooking a couple of minutes longer after folding in cooked mushrooms, fresh herbs and dried parmesan.