Grilled oyster mushroom skewers with parsley and spinach purée
Grilling the oyster mushrooms over medium heat makes them juicy and smoky, as water drips from them over the embers to create the fragrant smoke. These are served over a bright green herb mash of parsley, spinach and yogurt. (The original recipe called for herbed lovage instead of spinach; feel free to use it if you can find it.)
Total time: 35 min (plus time to prepare the grill)
Storage Notes: Mushrooms are best eaten freshly prepared, but they can be refrigerated for up to 1 week. The puree can also be refrigerated for up to 1 week; freezing is not recommended.
Size tested: 4 servings
2 cups (2 ounces) lightly packed fresh parsley (leaves and stems)
4 cups (5 ounces) packed baby spinach leaves
2/3 cup plain whole milk yogurt (can replace non-dairy yogurt of your choice)
1 piece of fresh turmeric (2 inches), peeled and chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 teaspoon fine sea salt, divided, plus more to taste
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
Water, if needed
2 pounds of oyster mushrooms
1/2 cup grape seed oil
Freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground sumac, divided
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and fill a large bowl with ice water. Blanch the parsley in boiling water for 2 minutes, then add the spinach and blanch the two together for another 2 minutes. Using tongs, transfer the greens to the ice water and leave them until they are cool enough to handle. Drain the greens in a colander or fine mesh colander, removing the ice. Using your hands, form the greens into a ball and squeeze out as much water as possible. Transfer the ball to a kitchen towel and wring it out until the greens are almost completely dry.
Transfer the greens to a blender and add the yogurt, turmeric, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and cardamom and puree until smooth. (Add water, 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time, if necessary, to help the mixture mix.)
If you are using a charcoal grill, fill a fireplace starter with charcoal, turn it on and when the coals are hot, throw them into your grill. Add more charcoal. When all of the coals are ashy and gray but are still very hot, about 15 minutes your grill should be moderately hot. (Use a grill thermometer or to test the heat by holding your hand palm down about 5 inches from the grill. If you can hold it there for 4 to 5 seconds, the heat should be medium, or 350 to 450 degrees (You can also cook them on a gas grill or on a grill pan.)
Cut the mushrooms off their clusters, leaving a very small amount of the stems intact. Using four soaked metal or wooden skewers, thread the mushrooms through the stems, gills down, alternating the tops of the mushrooms from left to right to cook evenly. You should end up with four full skewers.
Brush the mushrooms with a generous amount of oil to coat them, making sure to oil the gills. Season with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt, pepper and 1/2 teaspoon of sumac.
Grill the mushrooms for 2 minutes, then flip the skewers and continue to grill, turning every 2 minutes, until the edges start to curl and brown, the mushrooms have shrunk considerably and the stems are soft to the touch, about 8 minutes in total.
Distribute the mash evenly on a plate. Lightly sprinkle the mash with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of sumac, place the mushroom skewers on top (or remove the mushrooms from the skewers, if desired, and place them on the mash) and serve hot or at room temperature .
Adapted from “Bavel” by Ori Menashe and Genevieve Gergis (Ten Speed Press, 2021).
Tested by Joe Yonan.
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