I was captivated the first time I saw pink flamingo oyster mushrooms. The glorious colour was vibrant, the flavour meaty and curiously rich and full of umami. I had never imagined the joy that could be had from growing this particular variety. I found that I was waiting impatiently for those pinheads of growth, constantly cosseting them with mists of water, and noting with glee how much they would grow throughout the day. The first flush was very productive, the second and third not quite as large, but more than plenty for the mushroom lovers. My farm came from Lindale Gourmet mushrooms; available online at http://mycobio.co.nz or at farmers’ markets around the Wellington region.

When cooked the mushrooms turn to a golden yellow, the epitome of autumnal colours, and they have a firm texture. I liked them cooked lightly, but many recommend that they are cooked for 20 minutes to reveal a bacon-like flavour. I also enjoyed them raw and marinated and so delicately pretty with the radicchio in a salad but you can cook them first if you prefer.

Marinated oyster mushroom salad with radicchio & parmesan

Tear or slice oyster mushrooms and marinate for a few minutes in a simple lemon and olive oil dressing, Shred or tear radicchio leaves, toss with mushrooms, add some chopped parsley, scatter over some toasted walnuts and shavings of parmesan.

Oyster mushrooms, fish, sherry, garlic & crumbs

Gently fry garlic and bread crumbs in oil until golden and set aside. Fry the mushrooms and set aside. Fry pieces of fish, add the mushrooms back to the pan, add a dash of sherry and some chopped parsley. Scatter with the crumbs and grated lemon zest and serve immediately.

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