Monday, March 4, 2013

Lion's Mane Mushrooms and Spinach

The past few weeks I'd been looking at Lion's Mane mushrooms at the farmers' market.  I made up my mind to try this unusual mushroom before I even read about how Lion's Mane mushrooms can enhance memory function.  They have also been promoted for boosting the immune system.

But look at it.  Lion's Main isn't like a normal mushroom.  No cap or gills, just long thin moist spongy strands.  Some bloggers call it mild, others say the taste is reminiscent of lobster.  Really?   I'm not sure I like that part, but I'll be open to a new interpretation.   

How do you cook it and what can you do with it?  

I decided to ask the experts.   At the Cascadia Mushroom booth, I learned these mushrooms have a mild flavor and simple is best because they can be overwhelmed with lots of other ingredients. A woman buying them mentioned she sautéd the mushrooms in olive oil or added them to frying potatoes and they blended in.  Greens came to mind.  Don't ask me why.

As I gazed at the mushroom(s?) I wondered, where does one Lion's Mane mushroom end and the next begin?  Also I puzzled about how to cut it at first.  Fresh food doesn't usually come with instructions.

My plan was to sauté the mushrooms in olive oil and garlic and add some seasonal greens.
Consider any of the following greens:

When I saw this fantastic winter spinach at Nash's Organic Produce, I knew  the perfect pairing for Lion's Mane mushrooms.

Lion's Mane Mushrooms and Spinach
(Serves 4)
The trick with Lion's Mane mushrooms is to cook them until the edges get crispy.  That's when they taste best.  (Undercooked Lion's Mane mushrooms may taste a little bitter.)

1 small onion, diced
1 to 2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 pint of Lion's Mane mushrooms, cut into bite size chunks
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
3 to 4 cups fresh spinach, chopped (not baby spinach)
Sea salt and pepper to taste

Heat a heavy skillet over medium heat.   Add onions and olive oil.  Stir and cook until onions turn translucent.

Add the Lion's Mane mushrooms and garlic powder. Stir, cover and cook until mushrooms become slightly browned and crispy around the edges. Stir in spinach.  Cover and cook until spinach is soft.   Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve over toast or as a side dish.

No, Lion's Mane did not taste "fishy" but still my Cooking Assistant isn't  quite sure what to think of this dish.
 Quinoa, Brown Rice, Black Beans and Broccoli (left) Lion's Main Mushrooms and Spinach (right)


Joan said...

Looks delish!
I've never seen these mushrooms but now when I do I'll know how to cook them! Thanks!

Miz Helen said...

Good Morning,
Thank you so much for sharing your awesome recipe with Full Plate Thursday. Hope you have a lovely week and come back soon!
Miz Helen