January is almost over, but so is my patience for winter. And I don’t feel like I’m alone in this. This is the point when the realization of just how long the winter is, starts to kick in. Sure, one month is nearly done and dusted. But February is in the wings, and March and April can’t be trusted. Sure, they’re considered spring months, but their actions don’t always suggest that. All this is to say I am done with winter, but winter isn’t done with me. So bring on the comfort food! Today, that comfort food is this Chicken Fried Oyster Mushroom Sandwich with Carolina BBQ Sauce and Dill Pickle Slaw. It may not speed up winter, but it will make it slightly more delicious.
So, what are we looking at here? This sandwich consists of a toasted bun (it’s homemade, by the way) slathered with Carolina BBQ sauce. The bun is topped with red leaf lettuce, dill pickle slaw, and a cluster of battered and fried chicken-style oyster mushrooms. The sandwich is finished with a final drizzle of BBQ sauce and topped with the remaining half of the bun. Okay, now that you know what this sandwich is, let’s talk about how to make it.
The first question you have to ask yourself is whether to make the buns. Making buns from scratch is not as hard as it sounds, but it does take time. This recipe without the homemade buns is a fairly breezy 45-minute-long affair. With the buns, you’re looking at adding about three hours’ worth of proofing, baking, and cooling time. While it’s true most of this time asks very little of you, it does delay dinner significantly. I made the buns a day before I wanted to make the sandwiches. So, with a little forethought, this recipe can be a light lift, even with homemade buns. But if you’d rather skip it, there’s no shame in your storebought bun game.
I won’t go into much detail about the buns here. You can find the recipe over on my Rolled Omelette Breakfast Sandwich post and you’ll get all the info you can handle over there. I will mention that I make these buns a lot, and I like to switch up the garnishes often. Sometimes, it will be something as simple as a sprinkling of flake sea salt. Other times, I will load the buns up with sesame seeds, poppy seeds, chili flakes, etc. These particular buns have black sesame seeds, cumin seeds, and dried onion flakes. I wouldn’t recommend the onion flakes, they burned a bit in the oven. But the cumin seeds were tops. I do think the onion flakes would be incredible in the actual bread dough, though. But I will give it a whirl and report back.
Okay, with the buns figured out, let’s move on to the Carolina BBQ sauce. Now, I do not come by this sauce honestly. I have very little experience with this style of BBQ, but this sauce has always appealed to me. I love yellow mustard and am a vinegar fiend, so the premise of this condiment just makes sense to me. But having said that, my rendition might not be what a diehard Carolina BBQ lover recognizes as canon. I hit the mustard pretty hard in this sauce and did the same with the malt vinegar. This sauce is more on the tangy side than sweet, so bear that in mind. I also thickened the sauce a little with a cornstarch slurry to give it that somewhat lazy ooze. The sauce is a little runny without it, probably because of the amount of vinegar that’s in it.
With the sauce chilling in the fridge, let’s move on to the slaw. Now, this is truly simple. Julienne some dill pickles, and a little cucumber. Add a thinly sliced shallot and a minced clove of garlic. Add a dollop of mayo and stir everything together. And that’s really it. You could add a little salt or honey if you think it’s necessary for balance. But the brine from the pickles was all I needed.
Finally it’s time to talk oyster mushrooms. We’re going to treat them exactly as you would a chicken. And that starts with a nice brine. Now, there is no point in marinating mushrooms as long as you would a chicken. But we want the tang and the moist surface for our dredge to adhere to. So place yogurt, dill pickle brine, hot sauce, and Dijon mustard in a bowl. This is not a traditional brine. If you were making true blue Southern fried chicken, you would use buttermilk over yogurt and dried mustard instead of Dijon. This is an uppity brine, I guess. Pop the mushrooms in the brine and toss to coat. Set them aside and move onto the dredge.
Place flour and cornstarch in a bowl. Add paprika, dried mustard, thyme, celery salt, kosher salt, and garlic powder to the bowl. Whisk to combine. Fish the mushrooms out of the brine and place them in the dredge. Carefully toss to coat. We want to be careful because we don’t want to break up the clusters. And make sure you get the dredge inside all those nooks and crannies. We want as much coverage as we can manage.
Okay, now it’s time to fry. You can use a large Dutch oven for this and fully immerse the mushrooms in oil. This will result in a more even all-over crisping, but it will use significantly more oil. Or you can use a large cast iron skillet and half the oil, and live with a little uneven browning. That’s what I did, and I have no regrets. Heat your oil to 350°F. Add your mushroom clusters and fry until both sides are golden. This should take about 3 minutes a side. Leave the mushrooms to drain.
Now, let’s build our Chicken Fried Oyster Mushroom Sandwiches. Start with a toasty bun and slather the bottom with the Carolina BBQ sauce. Top the sauce with a few pieces of red leaf lettuce or the leafy green of your choice. Place a spoonful of the dill pickle slaw on top of the lettuce and add the star of the show – the chicken fried oyster mushroom cluster. Finish the sandwich by drizzling the mushrooms with a little more BBQ sauce and placing the top bun on top.
And there you go! A Chicken Fried Oyster Mushroom Sandwich fit for the mid-winter blahs. We may still have acres of winter in front of us, but at least we have this sandwich.
Chicken Fried Oyster Mushroom Sandwiches
- 1 Large Cast Iron Skillet
- 1 small skillet
Carolina BBQ Sauce
- ½ cup yellow mustard
- ¼ cup honey
- 3 tbsp malt vinegar
- 2 tbsp hot sauce I used Frank's
- 1 tbsp ketchup
- 2 tsp light brown sugar
- 2 tsp vegan Worcestershire sauce or soy sauce
- 1 tbsp water
- 1 tsp cornstarch
Dill Pickle Slaw
- ⅓ English cucumber julienned
- 3 large dill pickles julienned
- 1 shallot thinly sliced
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 tbsp mayo heaping
Chicken Fried Oyster Mushrooms
- ½ cup Greek yogurt
- ¼ cup hot sauce I used Frank's
- ¼ cup dill pickle brine
- 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 200g oyster mushrooms seperated into four large clusters
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- ⅓ cup cornstarch
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp celery salt
- Fresh ground pepper
- Neutral Oil for frying I used canola
- 4 sesame seeds buns
- 1 batch Carolina BBQ sauce see above
- 8 leaves red leaf lettuce
- 1 batch Dill Pickle Slaw see above
- 1 batch Chicken Fried Oyster Mushrooms see above
For the BBQ Sauce
- Place all the ingredients except for the cornstarch and water in a bowl. Whisk to combine. Pour the mixture into a skillet and bring to a gentle simmer.½ cup yellow mustard, ¼ cup honey, 3 tbsp malt vinegar, 2 tbsp hot sauce, 1 tbsp ketchup, 2 tsp light brown sugar, 2 tsp vegan Worcestershire sauce or soy sauce
- In a small bowl, whisk to combine the water and cornstarch. Pour the mixture into the simmering sauce and stir until thickened. Pour the sauce into a bowl and let cool to room temperature before transferring to the fridge.1 tbsp water, 1 tsp cornstarch
For the Slaw
- Place all of the ingredients in a bowl and toss to coat. Cover and chill until ready to serve.⅓ English cucumber, 3 large dill pickles, 1 shallot, 1 clove garlic, 1 tbsp mayo
For the Mushrooms
- In a medium-sized bowl, place the yogurt, hot sauce, pickle brine and Dijon mustard. Whisk to combine. Add the oyster mushrooms and carefully toss to coat. **½ cup Greek yogurt, ¼ cup hot sauce, ¼ cup dill pickle brine, 2 tbsp Dijon mustard, 200g oyster mushrooms
- In another bowl place the flour, cornstarch, salt, thyme, paprika, garlic powder, celery salt, and fresh ground pepper. Whisk to combine.¾ cup all-purpose flour, ⅓ cup cornstarch, 1 tsp kosher salt, 1 tsp dried thyme, 1 tsp paprika, 1 tsp garlic powder, ½ tsp celery salt, Fresh ground pepper
- Transfer the mushrooms to the flour mixture and toss to coat. Take extra care working the flour mixture into all of the mushroom clusters nooks and crannies. Transfer the breaded mushrooms to a plate and set them aside.
- Pour two inches of oil into a large cast iron skillet. Heat the oil to 350°F. *** Place the mushroom clusters in the oil and fry until golden on both sides. About 3 minutes a side. Transfer the fried mushrooms to a plate lined with paper towel and set aside to drain.Neutral Oil for frying
- Toast the buns. Slather the bottom buns with some of the BBQ sauce. Top with red leaf lettuce and a scoop of the Dill Pickle Slaw. Add a fried mushroom cluster and drizzle it with more sauce. Place the top bun on top and serve immediately.4 sesame seeds buns, 1 batch Carolina BBQ sauce, 8 leaves red leaf lettuce, 1 batch Dill Pickle Slaw, 1 batch Chicken Fried Oyster Mushrooms