Lobster mushrooms are a fall favorite amongst foragers. These delicious fungi make a great addition to many dishes, like pasta, soups and stews, and even sandwiches. Below we present you with what we consider to be the ultimate lobster mushroom recipe to add to your culinary repertoire.
Incidentally, lobster mushrooms are not actually mushrooms – more on that below – but they are absolutely delicious and have health benefits worth noting!
We’ve also included two additional flavorful recipes that are sure to become favorites in your home kitchen as economical and meat-free alternatives to seafood dishes. So let’s dive in and explore the world of lobster mushrooms.
There are three main ways to acquire lobster mushrooms.
The first option is to visit local organic produce markets. You would be able to find them during later summer and the fall when these delightful fungi are in season. However, they are usually only available fresh in Northern parts of the USA and Southern parts of Canada where they grow in the wild.
If fresh lobster mushrooms are not an option in your area, you can find many online sellers of dried mushrooms that may have them available. Take care to vet the quality of their company and products to avoid getting old, stale, or low-quality dried mushrooms.
Alternatively, if you're feeling adventurous, you can forage for lobster mushrooms yourself using these tips.
Lobster mushrooms have no toxic lookalikes, so they are generally easy to identify without risk.
A lobster mushroom is not technically a mushroom at all! It is a growth that forms when a certain parasitic fungus consumes one of two types of common mushrooms: Short-stalked Russula (Russula brevipes) or Lactarius mushrooms.
As the fungus eats up the host mushroom, it generates a strangely delicious orange-red output that looks and tastes suspiciously like a cooked lobster tail. So, if you want to be technical about it, you’d be cooking up Hypomyces lactifluorum.
To the mushroom aficionado, this happy fungi accident may sound familiar: See how chaga forms.
Lobster mushrooms have a unique flavor profile that sets them apart from other varieties. They offer a savory taste reminiscent of seafood. Their texture is firm yet tender, and they get slightly sweet as they cook. Similar to culinary uses of lion’s mane mushrooms, they are a popular substitute for seafood in dishes.
A great lobster mushroom recipe will ideally make use of the similarities between this fungus and real lobster meat.
Aside from their delectable taste, lobster mushrooms also provide some health benefits. They are packed with essential nutrients such as vitamins B and D, potassium, and iron. Like other culinary mushrooms, these are low in calories, but dense in fiber, so they are ideal for filling you up and supporting your gut health.
If you are using fresh lobster mushrooms, preparation prior to cooking is simple. Rinse them under cold water to remove any debris, then move on to the next step below.
If you are using dried lobster mushrooms, you’ll need to rehydrate them before moving on to cooking. Place the dried mushrooms in a heat-safe bowl, then cover with boiling water. Let soak for 15-20 minutes, agitating them gently about halfway through to help loosen any debris. Carefully remove the mushroom pieces and rinse well under cold water. If the mushrooms were not dirty prior to soaking, reserve the soaking water for cooking.
Before incorporating fresh lobster mushrooms into a recipe, it's crucial to prepare them properly. Start by cleaning the mushrooms thoroughly using a soft brush or damp cloth to remove any dirt or debris. Then slice them according to your desired thickness.
For each of the recipes below, we recommend sautéing the lobster mushrooms in a preheated pan with olive oil or butter until they turn golden brown. Make sure the pan is already hot prior to putting the mushrooms in. This is key to cooking mushrooms so they don’t go soggy.
The CEO of Real Mushrooms, Skye Chilton, created the video below of his lobster mushroom foraging and how he cooked up these delicious delicacies:
Now that we’ve covered the basics of lobster mushrooms, let’s dive into the recipes!
The following recipe can be made using fresh or dried lobster mushrooms. We have included preparation instructions for the mushrooms themselves just above this section.
This delightful creamy pasta dish featuring flavorful Hypomyces lactifluorum is a perfect choice for adventuring into a new and delicious culinary realm. It’s especially fun to experiment with ingredients like these if you’re looking for satisfying meat or seafood substitutes.
This creamy bisque recipe is sure to become a cold-weather favorite. One of our team members adapted this recipe from the original, found on One Tomato, Two Tomato. Freshly foraged lobster mushrooms were used here, but you could easily swap with rehydrated dried ones if that’s all you have on hand.
We found this drool-worthy recipe for meat-free lobster rolls and couldn’t resist including it! If you’re craving a satisfying sandwich, this is one recipe you will definitely want to try. The original recipe can be found on Forager Chef, or view his YouTube video below.
When it comes to the lobster mushroom, it is one of those strange treats that nature in all her weirdness has created and our tastebuds happily benefit from.
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