A couple of days ago, I read a short story in which the protagonist ate a fried chicken sandwich. The story didn't much appeal to me because the protagonist was so unpleasant but, of course, thoughts of the sandwich remained behind after reading. I had oyster mushrooms in the fridge and it didn't take a huge leap of imagination to sub the chicken for one of those and turn the meatiest of the mushroom family into a crispy chicken fried sandwich.
The end result is a crispy exterior and a soft and very juicy interior. Give yourself a good few minutes before digging in or you will burn the roof of your mouth off, as I very nearly did. The preparation of the mushroom means that the internal temperature of the mushroom will stay molten-hot for longer than you would expect.
I would like to justify the amount of oil used by saying that a) I could have gone one further and deep fried the mushroom and b) this was my reward for energetically raking autumn leaves, yet again.
1 oyster mushroom segment (the one I used was about the size and thickness of a chicken thigh)
1/3 cup of milk
2 tsps of Old Bay seasoning
2 Tbsps panko breadcrumbs
2 Tbsps all purpose flour
2 Tbsps vegetable oil
Whisk the milk and the Old Bay together. Measure your panko and flour into a deep dish and mix to combine.
Wipe down the mushroom and trim the end if needed, making sure that you keep all of its pieces together in one "clump", attached at the stem.
Place the mushroom in the milk mixture and let it soak up some of the liquid for a minute or so, turning at the halfway mark. Before removing it from its milk bath, make sure that the liquid has permeated all parts of the mushroom.
Add the oil to a small pan and heat until shimmering.
While the oil is heating, place the mushroom in the breadcrumb mixture and roll several times in the dish to ensure maximum breadcrumb coverage (for maximum cooked crunch.) Gingerly lift up any pieces of the mushroom without breaking from the stem and make sure that they too are covered in a coating of breadcrumbs. You want every nook and cranny covered.
Lower the heat under the pan and add the mushroom. Cook for a total of five minutes, turning every minute or so, making sure that you also add color to the sides not just the top and the bottom.
Remove to a paper towel lined plate to drain the excess oil and blot gently. Old Bay is very salty so I did not find the need to add more salt to this, but you may feel otherwise.
I served this on a toasted brioche bun with homemade green tomato pickles, shredded lettuce, and some Hellman's mayonnaise into which I mixed charred leek greens, but this would be good with lettuce, tomato and mayonnaise, or a slice of grilled red onion, or tartar sauce, or hot honey, among some ideas that come to mind.