Oat Berries

Braised Lobster Mushroom with Wild Spinach & Oat Berries

Serves 4 as a vegetarian main course

Ingredients:

  • 4 very fresh, whole lobster mushrooms about 3-4 ounces each
  • A handful of wild spinach per person, trimmed into small clusters of leaves
  • 3/4 cup hard oat berries (oat grouts)
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade, vegetarians use vegetable stock
  • 1 tbsp fragrant and tasty oil for drizzling, such as sunflower oil or a nice extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter to finish the sauce (optional-vegans omit, your sauce will just be more loose)
  • 4 cups water
  • Salt and white pepper

Instructions:

  1. Bring the dry oat berries to a boil in lightly salted water, then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and cook for 1 hour or until the oat berries are reasonably tender, adding more water to keep the oat berries covered if it evaporates.
  2. After an hour they will be chewy a bit still, if you want them done more, cook for an additional 1/2 hour to 1 hour, though some might explode. Cool and reserve the oat berries until needed.

Finishing and plating:

  1. Saute the lobster mushroom is a wide, high sided pan with a couple tablespoons of oil, a small “pasta pot” that everyone has laying around would work. You just need the sides of the pan to be higher than the lobster mushrooms. I a 10 inch, deep saute pan, with high sides. Once the mushrooms have taken a little color (about 5-10) minutes, season them with salt and white pepper, cook for a few minutes more, and then deglaze with the wine. Reduce the wine until it is almost gone from the pan and is a bit syrupy, about 5 minutes.
  2. Next add the stock, cover the pot, and let cook slowly for 5-10 minutes, or until the lobster mushrooms are totally heated through and cooked.
  3. Reduce the juice in the pan down by half, add the oat berries and butter, then heat until lightly thickened, adjust the seasoning for salt/white pepper if needed. Using a slotted spoon, place the oat berries and wild spinach on each of 4 warmed dinner plates, making a little mound of oat berries to place the lobster mushrooms on.
  4. Top the oat berry mounds with the lobster mushroom and then drizzle with the jus left in the pan.
  5. Garnish with the olive oil and serve immediately.