FATHER'S DAY GIFT GUIDE 🍳

Mushrooms are often used as substitutes for chicken or pulled pork in plant-based recipes—when cooked correctly, mushrooms can gain a meat-like texture. We already know that cast iron works great when you want to expertly sear any sort of protein or vegetable, but factoring in the weight of the additional cast iron skillet on top of the mushroom helps compact the proteins in the mushroom, and create a springy, meat-like texture.

Our recipe was inspired by Wicked Healthy’s pan-pressing technique, which uses the magic of cast iron to create an incredible sear on the outside of an oyster mushroom, with a juicy, tender center. It requires only a couple of ingredients, and the delicious end result is more about the cooking technique. You can serve it on a bun with some mayo, tomato, and lettuce, shred it with a fork and serve on slider rolls with some coleslaw, or chop it up and add into any dish of your choice.

Field Notes

1.

Don’t overcrowd mushrooms in your cast iron skillet—giving mushrooms more room allows them to reach a higher temperature and make sure the Maillard reaction occurs.

2.

Putting weight on top of mushrooms when searing or sautee-ing helps push out some of the water (think of mushrooms like a sponge; when they have less water inside them, they absorb flavor more easily).

3.

Baking the mushrooms after searing them allows some of the barbecue sauce to caramelize and stick to the mushroom steak.

4.

You can easily halve or double this recipe—one oyster mushroom yields one serving.

Recipe: Cast Iron “Cast Iron Pressed Mushroom Steaks”

Yield: 2 servings

Instructions

1.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Trim the stem of the oyster mushroom clusters, keeping the cluster intact (if a few pieces fall off, you can keep those and still cook them along with the main cluster).

2.

Heat a No.10 Skillet over medium-high heat, then add the oil. When the oil shimmers, add the mushroom clusters to the pan.

3.

Place a No.8 Skillet on top of the oyster mushroom clusters, lay a towel on top (to protect your hand), and press down gently. Cook the mushrooms, pressing lightly, until deeply browned on the bottom, about 3 minutes. Using a spatula, turn the mushrooms over and repeat on the other side, pressing the top skillet down gently until the bottom is well browned, about 3 minutes longer.

Photo: Laura Wolfe
4.

Turn off the heat, set the top skillet aside, and sprinkle both sides of the mushrooms with the steak seasoning. Brush the barbecue sauce all over both sides of the oyster mushrooms, making sure to get it into all the nooks and crannies.

5.

Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake for 15 minutes, or until the sauce has caramelized. Remove from the oven and serve as desired.

Photo: Laura Wolfe