OYster mushrooms have the power to turn into incredibly crispy, meaty versions of themselves when fried or roasted. I like them, but I’m aware that many people don’t like them, and even more so that mushrooms are too often used as a meat substitute. With that in mind, I urge you not to skip this recipe if you don’t like mushrooms: the roasted eggplant cubes are a great alternative, and go just as well with the tomato and chipotle butter sauce and creamy polenta.
Oyster mushrooms with chipotle tomato butter sauce and creamy polenta
The fresh chili and chipotle pepper flakes are optional, so omit them or use less, if you prefer. For the aubergine version of this dish, cut 500g aubergines into 3cm cubes, toss with four tablespoons of oil and one teaspoon of salt, spread on a lined flat baking sheet and roast on 230°C (210°C fan) / 450°F / gas 8 oven for half an hour, stirring once halfway through cooking, until golden brown.
Preperation 10 minutes
to cook 40 minutes
For the mushrooms
500g oyster mushroomstorn in half or, if large, in quarters
3 tablespoons of olive oil
fine salt and black pepper
For the chipotle tomato sauce
4 tablespoons of olive oil
30 g vegetable butter
4 garlic clovespeeled and very finely chopped
1 sweet red pepperseeded and very finely chopped (or less, to taste)
150g sweet, ripe cherry tomatoes (datterini type), very finely chopped
1 teaspoon of tomato purea
¾ teaspoon smoked paprika
½ teaspoon chipotle pepper flakes (or less, to taste)
For the polenta
200ml vegetable liquid cream or canned whole coconut milk (at least 70% coconut extract)
100g quick cooking polenta
60g white miso paste
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon dried onion pellets
1¾ (5g) finely chopped chives
Heat the oven to 210 C (190 C fan)/410 F/gas 6½. Line a large flat baking sheet with parchment paper. Top with torn mushrooms, oil, salt and lots of pepper, toss to coat, then spread evenly and roast for 20 minutes. Stir, roast another five to 10 minutes, until crispy and golden, then remove and set aside.
Meanwhile, prepare the sauce. Place the oil and butter in a medium nonstick skillet over low heat. Once the butter has melted, add the garlic, the chilli and half a teaspoon of fine salt and sauté very gently, stirring often, for three to four minutes, until the garlic is tender and golden brown (we don’t want it browning or crispy, so keep the heat very low). Remove from the heat and immediately stir in the tomatoes, tomato paste, paprika, chipotle and plenty of black pepper, then set aside.
Put all the polenta ingredients in a medium saucepan, add 350ml of water and whisk to combine. Place over medium heat and cook, whisking continuously, for about six minutes, until smooth and thickened (if at any point the polenta starts to spit, turn the heat down).
Pour the polenta on a dish or four individual plates, then pour the sauce, then the mushrooms. Drizzle with a little oil, sprinkle with chives and serve with lime wedges.