Sunday 12 March 2006

phoe·nix tail

Phoenix tail mushrooms seem to be the same as oyster mushrooms and often seem to be called phoenix tail oyster mushrooms but this page suggests otherwise. The scientific name of the phoenix tail mushroom is Pleurotus sajor-caju and of the oyster mushroom Pleurotus abolonus. Therefore they both belong to the same genus but are a different species. Other mushrooms in the genus are the common oyster (Pleurotus ostreatus) and the golden top oyster (Pleurotus citrinopileatu).

The reason this matters is that I felt like garlic mushrooms to eat with bread for an entrée. I wanted to have something a little more interesting than regular button mushrooms, and my eye settled on the phoenix tail of which there seemed to be two choices ; however on closer inspection one was phoenix tail and one was oyster. I chose the phoenix tail but I wanted to check if I was missing something and needed to get the oyster some other time.

The producer of the phoenix tail, Mushroom R&D, describes them as fan shaped mushrooms with a delicate subtle seafood flavour. I am not sure if I could detect a subtle seafood flavour ; but I think subtle was lost with the garlic butter in which I fried the mushrooms.

Garlic mushrooms are so good, especially if you decide that a bit of butter is good for you and that garlic is just what you need. And as for the mushrooms - essential minerals (selenium, potassium, copper) and B-complex vitamins (riboflavin, niacin and pantothenic acid).

I put some butter and as much garlic as I feel like peeling and chopping in a frying pan on low, letting the butter slowly melt and take up the flavour of the garlic. Turn the heat up to high and when it is sizzling throw in the mushrooms and quickly sauté them. Serve immediately and use some crusy bread to mop up the garlicky buttery juices.

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