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Mushroom "BLT"s with Basil Mayonnaise from Chef Rich Landau of Vedge Restaurant, Philadelphia

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      Richard Landau is a chef in Philadelphia at a vegetarian restaurant called “Vedge”.  He and his wife, Katie Jacoby, are also authors of a cookbook by the same name (The Experiment 2013).  In the run up to the book’s publication, Rich contributed this recipe to Food and Wine magazine.  It’s an incarnation of one of my favorite sandwiches, the BLT.  But instead of the B, he pressed Oyster Mushrooms into service.  The result is a stunning take on the original.  Meaty and full of flavor.  Pick the right bread and you’ll be in heaven.  
      The firm, meaty texture of the mushroom takes the place of the Bacon.  Now anyone who has ever had

Really Good Bread makes
a really great sandwich.

the misfortune to taste what the vegan stand-in for bacon is, will give this substitution a standing O.   I made these for a light supper.  Andrew and I couldn’t get over how good they were.   I used the “tomatoes on the vine” and they passed muster. But I couldn’t help think how glorious this will taste once we are in tomato season.  I also opted for a really great loaf of seeded rye bread which I toasted and spread with the easy-to-make basil mayonnaise.  A couple of romaine lettuce leaves, the tomato slice and the sautéed mushrooms, lots of salt and pepper and voila, a meatless meal in no time. I made this for the two of us.  It could easily be doubled but beware, you will want to eat every one you can get your hands on. 

         Oyster Mushrooms are recommended here but if you can’t get your hands on them, shiitakes can be substituted.  I get my Oyster and Shiitake Mushrooms from Long Island Mushroom Inc. which provides superb mushrooms to restaurants and home cooks out on the East End. Jane Maguire and John Quigley put tremendous effort into growing all their mushrooms.  Mushroom fanciers look forward to Fall and the wild oyster mushrooms that are harvested then.  Long Island Mushroom Inc. means you never have to wait for Fall.  They are the only local provider who grow mushrooms all ‘year round.  And they do it in a sparkling facility they created in Cutchogue, Long Island. Constantly controlled humidity and temperature mean flawless mushrooms.  Look for them at Farmer’s Markets. Go on their website, www.longislandmushroominc.com to see when and where you can get these best-in-class beauties.        
The Oyster mushroom or Pleurotus ostreatus was first cultivated in Germany during World War I.  It’s hard to imagine that something now considered a delicacy was first grown as a subsistence food in wartime. Most cooks tear these mushrooms into pieces when they cook them.  Chef Landau cuts them in slices.  This is harrowing because you don’t end up with a flawless slice; in fact you will have all kinds of shapes as pictured.  They may not be as perfect, but believe me even in imperfection, they are just fine.
Here’s the recipe:

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