Photo by by Annaliese Bischoff
Provenance of Dish
I grew up along the coast of Rhode Island with a love of clam cakes. When I was 9 and home alone with a sudden urge for them, I thought maybe I could make a batch. But we were out of clams, but we had corn. So I decided to tackle corn fritters (both shocking and delighting my family who never fried anything). Later I learned how to make proper clam cakes, Rhode Island style. That means serve with bread and butter pickles; don’t ask me why. Now that I live inland on a woodlot where I have started growing oyster mushrooms, I thought it would be great fun to try a mushroom version. And yes, they turned out crispy on the outside and soft and pillowy inside. This is a decadent taste of summer.
Glug of olive oil for frying
12 oz. fresh oyster mushrooms, cleaned and sliced (you want 1-1 ½ cups cooked)
1/2 cup buttermilk (or regular whole milk mixed with 1 tbl, plain yogurt)
1/2 cup mushroom or chicken broth
1/2 cup beer, lager suggested
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon maple syrup or honey
Canola or grapeseed oil for deep frying
• Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan to medium heat and then add the sliced mushrooms in a single layer. Cook until they are golden brown and release their water.
• Let the mushrooms cool and mince into 1/8-1/4 inch pieces.
• Mix the eggs, milk, broth, and beer together. Stir in the minced mushrooms.
• Mix the dry ingredients together. The stir in the wet ingredients.
• Heat your oil in a Dutch oven or deep fryer (If you can do this outside, it’s great). When your oil is sizzling (@ 350), drop a tablespoon at a time of the batter into the fat. I usually cook three batches, 10-12 as a batch, in a small Dutch oven in oil about 3 inches deep. These puff up quickly, within 5 minutes. When each has turned golden brown and floats to the top, scoop out to drain on paper towels. Serve in parchment cones while hot, about 6 per person. Serve immediately! I do not like to keep these warm and serve later. So be ready to gobble them right after you cook them. Serve these up plain, or with some bread and butter pickles for our odd Rhode Island tradition.