When I saw this weeks pick for Food Network Friday, I gotta admit, I kind of hesitated about taking part. I’m not normally the type to pass up a challenge but the thought of having to veganize a seafood dish just didn’t appeal to me, sure it sounded simple enough and the bulk of the ingredients were foods I would happily eat but that shrimp! Bah! So gross! Yup that’s right, I may have grown up a Newfoundlander, who literally lived by the Bay for the bulk of my life, but I’ve always despised the flavour of seafood. Cod? Gross! Lobster? Gag inducing! Scallops? *shudder*. I’m sure my Newfie friend’s heads are spinning right off their bodies right about now, but when it came to going vegan, seafood was a total non-issue for me. I know the flavour of shrimp doesn’t quite compare to something like cod, but it still has that fishy taste I so despise. Despite my animosity towards shrimp, I decided to put on my big girl pants and give the recipe a go.
I didn’t have the time to hunt down those frozen vegan shrimp thingy-ma-bobs, so I went the mushroom route and bought some oyster mushrooms for the first time. Speaking of things I don’t like, mushrooms don’t exactly make my favourite foods list, but over the years I have made an effort to eat them more frequently and those little spongy suckers have actually grown on me. But picking up oyster mushrooms was a whole new level of mushroom acceptance, why did nobody warn me about how creepy those things look! When I pulled it out of the package I thought the thing was going to come to life and start crawling up my arm. Anywhoo, once I got over my fear that the mushrooms were actually insects in disguise, this recipe came together in no time.
I was super nervous about using the oyster mushrooms as I didn’t want to ruin a whole batch of food, I really don’t like wasting food, but even I have my limits. I always heard that oyster mushrooms have a slight seafood aroma but never having tried them before, I was a little concerned about how strong this flavour was going to come across. To my (pleasant) surprise, it was actually pretty mild; the mushrooms have a velvety texture with a subtle oyster-like flavour, almost like a background note.
This dish is pretty simplistic, there are minimal ingredients, with most of the flavour being contributed by the garlic and lemon. I really recommend eating this dish the same day you make it, since there’s no sauce, the pasta gets kind of the dry the next day. If you do have leftovers, feel free to add additional oil to help make it more palatable.
Oyster Mushroom Scampi
Makes 4-6 servings
- 1/2 pound linguini (I used whole wheat)
- 2 tablespoons non-dairy butter
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 2 shallots, finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 4 cups oyster mushrooms, roughly chopped
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- Juice & zest of 1 lemon
- 1/3 cup finely chopped parsley leaves
For the pasta, put a large pot of water on the stove to boil. When it has come to the boil, add a tablespoon of salt and the linguini. Stir to make sure the pasta separates; cover. When the water returns to a boil, cook for about 6 to 8 minutes or until the pasta is not quite done. Drain the pasta.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet, melt 1 tablespoon of butter in 1 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat. Sauté the shallots, garlic, and red pepper flakes until the shallots are translucent, about 3 to 4 minutes. Season the oyster mushrooms with salt and pepper; add them to the pan and cook until they start to release their juices, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the mushrooms from the pan; set aside and keep warm. Add wine, lemon juice and zest and bring to a boil. Add 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon oil. When the butter has melted, return the mushrooms to the pan along with the parsley and cooked pasta. Stir well and season with salt and pepper. Drizzle over a bit more olive oil and serve immediately.
Adapted from Food Network