Oyster Mushroom Fricasee from In Erika's Kitchen

Erika Kerekes is a dot-com product manager by day and a relentless home  cook and food blogger by night. She started writing In Erika’s Kitchen in 2008 because she was tired of hearing her mother ask “When are you going to write a cookbook already?”  A native New Yorker, she now lives in southern California and marvels every day about the fact that food grows on trees in her backyard.

French food is surprisingly easy to find in southern California. Authentic French food, on the other hand, is less common. Which is why my Francophile husband and I were so glad when Saint Amour opened in Culver City last year. It’s one of those French restaurants where you walk in and wonder if someone changed the official language of Los Angeles to French without alerting the public.

Chef Bruno Herve-Commereuc is rightly famous for his charcuterie (house-cured meats) and pillowy quenelles de brochet (fish dumplings), but it’s the simple oyster mushroom fricassee I crave when I walk in the front door. It couldn’t be simpler: a pile of oyster mushrooms sweated with garlic and shallots, doused with butter. And it couldn’t be more French. It’s exactly the sort of thing that appears magically with your main dish in any French brasserie, neither requested nor specified, just the vegetable the chef found at the market and happened to feel like cooking that day.

Chef Bruno’s wife Florence, who handles the front of the house, graciously shared the recipe. The key is a big, hot pan, and not overcrowding the mushrooms. You want them to sauté, not steam in their own liquid.

Oyster mushroom fricassee from Saint Amour

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1/2 lb oyster mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup shallots, peeled and chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

Heat the olive oil and butter in a large skillet over a high flame. Add the oyster mushrooms and cook about 5 minutes, shaking the pan every so often. You want the mushrooms to give off their liquid and dry out.

When the mushrooms are dry, add the shallots, garlic, a good pinch of salt, and a few grinds of black pepper, and cook another 3-4 minutes. Sprinkle over the parsley and serve immediately.

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