Funky and Flavorful Fungi: Lion’s Mane Mushrooms

Lion’s Mane Mushrooms, or hericium erinaceus, may look a little odd at first, but don’t judge a mushroom by its cap (or lack thereof)! Also referred to as the Bearded Tooth Mushroom or Pom Pom Mushroom, this fungi doesn’t have a traditional cap. Instead it boasts a “mane” of teeth that help it reproduce. These mushrooms can be found growing on older oak or beech trees from August to November in North America, Europe, and Asia. When it comes to picking up a few for cooking at home, try shopping at specialty stores or boutique grocers specializing in exotic produce. 

Flavor and Texture

These funky fungi are often compared to seafood when it comes to flavor. They have a slight sweetness similar to lobster or crab, and a meaty, stringy texture prior to cooking. After being exposed to heat, these mushrooms produce a savory juiciness and chewy bite, making them a hearty entree for vegetarians and meat eaters alike. 

Storage and Usage

Image Credit: Flickr user stuart_spivack (CC BY-SA 2.0)

To keep these earthy beauties fresh, store them unwashed in a brown paper bag in the fridge. Rinse under running water before using or submerge in water and lightly swish around if particularly dirty. Dry them off gently with a paper towel and prepare as desired.  

Lion’s mane mushrooms have a higher water content than most mushrooms, so they tend to release more moisture during cooking.  Saute lion’s manes over medium heat until most of the water is released and evaporated, add butter or oil and season, and cook until golden brown. These mushrooms can also be roasted whole with your favorite seasoning blend at 325°F for about 30 minutes.  

Feature Image: Flickr user stuart_spivack (CC BY-SA 2.0)

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