After the first hard freezes, many mushroomers leave the woods until spring morel season with the thought that there are few good edibles during the winter. The very common, easily identified, late oyster mushrooms, Panellus serotinus, are left in the woods because of many uninformed opinions from "experts" that say they are nasty mushrooms, bitter at best.
I differ in my evaluation. In fact, I prepared late oysters for groups of friends five times last year and got no bad reviews, many "good" or "very good" comments, and a couple of raves. Personally, I will not call them a top mushroom, but I certainly will not pass them up when I find them. The secret is in the preparation.
This is one of the mushrooms that has to be "dry sautéed" very thoroughly to eliminate its overly moist texture. I put them in a frying pan with no oil and let them dry out. I press down on them with the flat of my spatula to squeeze out moisture. It takes a while; these mushrooms are not the ones for impatient cooks. I squeeze often until they no longer sizzle and rise up between the slots of the spatula. I turn them often and repeat the process. Then I leave them in a couple of minutes more. One has to get past the thought of over cooking vegetables. These are wood eating fungi and from what I hear, heavy cooking breaks down their resistance to being digested and liberates their nutrition. When they start to darken they are close to being done. Then add oil or butter, and onions and sauté until the onions caramelize. It is almost impossible to overcook late oysters and undercooking them results in a texture that I do not like. Let me mention once again, you have to dry sauté them a looooong time. Today, when the onions were just about done, I added some chopped pears along with some diced garlic and a little diced fresh red pepper. When the garlic was tender and the pears warmed, my dish was done. I thought it was a fine breakfast.
If you are willing to put the extra time and patience into the preparation of these mushrooms, I think you will be surprised at how good they can be, and you will extend your mushrooming into the cool, crisp winter.. If you are hasty, you will likely join the folks who give them the frosty shoulder.