Shroom: Make the Mushroom the Main Dish

Local chef and mushroom hunter Becky Selengut knows a thing or two about fungus, and proves it in her beautiful and informative book Shroom: Mind-bendingly Good Recipes for Cultivated and Wild Mushrooms. Just in time for harvest season, she shared a few recipes for those who want to experiment.

Roasted Lion’s Mane and Cauliflower with Zante Currants and Red Onion

This is a simple and unusual side dish that could easily be turned into a vegetarian main course by roasting some cooked chickpeas (add them halfway through the cooking time) and serving with naan. Or keep it as a side dish and serve with lamb chops and a bit of pesto.


  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into very small florets, stems thinly sliced
  • 1/2 pound lion’s mane mushrooms, moisture squeezed out and cut or torn into bite-size pieces
  • 1/2 red onion, cut into thin half-moons
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or more if you like things hot
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup Zante currants
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley


  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
  2. Line two baking pans with parchment paper. Toss the cauliflower, lion’s mane and onions with the olive oil; then season with the salt, cayenne and black pepper. Roast in the oven until light brown and tender, 15 to 20 minutes.
  3. While the cauliflower and mushrooms roast, soak the currants in the red wine vinegar. As soon as the cauliflower is tender, remove from the oven and toss with the currants and parsley. Drizzle more olive oil over the top. This dish is best served at room temperature.

Roasted Chanterelles and Bacon with Sweet Corn Sauce

This dish would make a great first course for a multicourse dinner served sometime in September, right when the chanterelles start popping and the corn is waning. If you happen to have a couple of garden tomatoes lying around, chop them up and spread them on the toast to serve on the side, or even better, serve this dish with a panzanella salad with basil, tomato, croutons and mozzarella. I’ve found a great way to cook bacon so the fat renders slowly and the lean crisps up by gradually warming the oven. As the bacon fat renders, it coats the slowly caramelizing chanterelles.


  • 9 ounces chanterelles, large ones split in half, small ones left whole
  • 1/4 pound bacon, small diced
  • 3 ears fresh corn
  • 2/3 cup Mushroom Stock
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted, plus more for drizzling
  • Tabasco sauce (or hot sauce of your choice; optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt, plus more as needed
  • 4 ounces piquillo chili peppers from a jar (or roasted red peppers), thinly sliced
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
  • 4 slices toasted crusty bread


  1. Line a baking pan with parchment paper and spread out the chanterelles and bacon on it. Pop in a cold oven and set the temperature to 400°F. Set a timer for 10 minutes. When the timer goes off, mix the mushrooms and bacon and place back in the oven for another 5 minutes (making sure they are spread out). Mix again, and return to the oven for another 5 to 10 minutes, until the bacon is rendered and crisp and the mushrooms are tender and caramelized. When they are done, remove from the oven and cover with foil until everything else is finished.
  2. Meanwhile, cut the corn off the cobs. Add half the corn kernels to a blender. Then, putting the blender in the sink, hold the cobs over the blender and, using a spoon, scrape down the cobs into the blender to get all the corn “milk” from the cobs. Add the stock, melted butter and Tabasco to the blender as well. Pulse until smooth (adding a little water if necessary to get the blender to work). Pour the puree through a fine-mesh strainer into a small saucepan. Use a rubber spatula to press as much as you can through the strainer. Season with a teaspoon of the salt, plus more if needed.
  3. In a sauté pan over medium-high heat, add 1 tablespoon of the bacon fat from the baking pan. Add the remaining half of the corn kernels, the piquillo peppers, the remaining teaspoon of salt, and black pepper and sauté for 5 minutes, until you get a little color on the corn. Add the basil, sauté for another minute; then season to taste (keep in mind the bacon is salty) and reserve. Right before serving, heat up the corn sauce over medium heat, mixing carefully with a rubber spatula so the natural cornstarch doesn’t burn on the bottom of the pot. It should thicken and coat the back of a spoon in just a few minutes.
  4. To serve, pour an equal amount of corn sauce into each of four shallow bowls. Spoon a portion of the corn and pepper mixture in the middle. On top of that, serve equal portions of the chanterelles and bacon. Serve with the toasted bread.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Matsutakes and Lemon

Most folks advise to keep dishes using matsutakes as simple as possible to allow the unique perfume of this special mushroom to waft, untethered to other strong scents, to the diner’s nose. Then along came Thuylieu Hoang, who cooked at Poppy, one of my favorite restaurants in Seattle, with a simple, off-the-cuff dish taking the very bold, often maligned brussels sprout and pairing the vegetable with the equally bold, spicy and ethereal matsutake This can’t work, I thought. I was wrong. I think this dish would hold up well tossed with butternut squash gnocchi to make it more of a main course or served as a side dish with pan-seared halibut or striped bass, or even a pork loin.


  • 1 pound brussels sprouts, stems and any brown bits trimmed off and quartered
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 pound fresh matsutake mushrooms, stems medium diced, caps thinly sliced
  • 1/4 pound fresh maitake mushrooms, medium diced
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup Mushroom Stock
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges


  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a baking pan with parchment paper and brush with some olive oil. Pile the sprouts on the pan, and drizzle 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and the honey on top, as well as the lemon juice. Mix well and then add 1 teaspoon of the salt. Mix again and spread out on the pan. Grind some black pepper over the top. Pop the pan into the oven and cook for 15 minutes. Then stir the sprouts and roast for another 10 to 20 minutes, until brown, tender and a little crispy at the edges.
  2. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and sauté the mushrooms, along with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt, until they are tender and lightly browned. Stir in the lemon zest and some black pepper, and when the sprouts are done, mix them in. Moisten with the stock and the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Serve with the lemon wedges.

Grilled Lobster Mushrooms, Tandoori-Style

Most cooks can look to one or two chefs who, either overtly or through quiet example, educated and inspired them to become better at their craft. Jerry Traunfeld, chef-owner of Poppy and the James Beard Award–winning former chef of the Herbfarm, is one of those people for me. I cooked for Jerry for three years at the Herbfarm, but it has been our decades-long friendship that has inspired me to expand my culinary horizons in food and writing and enthusiastically embrace the world of herbs and spices. I’ve adapted his dish, made at his former restaurant in the tandoor oven, to work in a home kitchen, either on your grill or under your broiler.


  • 1/2 cup whole-milk plain yogurt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground roasted cumin
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey
  • 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice


  1. Preheat a grill to medium heat and oil the grate with coconut or vegetable oil. Alternatively, set an oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat your broiler to high; line a baking pan with aluminum foil and brush the foil with the oil. To make the yogurt sauce, whisk all the ingredients together in a bowl. Set aside.
  2. To marinate the mushrooms, in a medium bowl stir together the garam masala, salt, cayenne, turmeric, nutmeg and chickpea flour. Stir in the ginger, garlic, jalapeño, lemon juice, yogurt and cilantro. Once the marinade is well mixed, add the mushrooms and, using your fingers, make sure each mushroom is well coated with the marinade. Grill the mushrooms until browned and cooked through, 7 to 10 minutes. Or if you are broiling them, place the mushrooms on the prepared baking pan. Broil for 10 minutes, flip them over and broil for another 5 minutes. Serve with the yogurt sauce.

Morels on Brioche Toast Points with Brandy and Thyme

Morels on toast points is a classic French recipe that features the sublime, earthy flavor of this highly prized mushroom, gilding the lily with booze, butter and fresh herbs. In simple dishes like this, you come as close as possible to the essence of the woods on a plate.


  • 1/2 pound fresh morels, or 1 ounce dried
  • 4 (2-inch) slices of brioche (or bread of your choice)
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup minced shallot
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt or (optional) truffle salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 cup Mushroom Stock (page xxiii) or mushroom rehydration liquid
  • 1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons brandy
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley


  1. Place an oven rack in the middle position, and preheat the broiler to high.
  2. Clean the fresh morel mushrooms, or rehydrate dried morel mushrooms, saving the rehydration liquid if using it. Cut the morels into 1/4-inch rings. Trim the crust from the brioche slices and cut them diagonally into two triangles. In a large frying pan or cast-iron skillet over medium-low heat, melt the butter. Remove a tablespoon of the melted butter and reserve for the brioche.
  3. Add the shallots to the skillet, along with the salt and black pepper, and cook for 1 minute, or until they start to soften. Add the morels and thyme and increase the heat to high. Once the mushrooms have started to brown, after about 5 minutes, deglaze the pan with the stock (or mushroom rehydration liquid), sherry vinegar and brandy, making sure to scrape up any stuck bits.
  4. Simmer until the liquid reduces by two-thirds, about 5 minutes. While the liquid is reducing, place the brioche on a baking pan and brush both sides with the reserved melted butter. Broil on the middle rack until the top side is toasted, then flip and toast the bottom (watch it carefully!). Once the liquid has reduced, add the cream. Continue to simmer until the sauce has thickened, 3 to 5 minutes more. Add the parsley. Season to taste with more salt and black pepper.
  5. Serve the toast points topped with the mushroom mixture.
  6. NOTE: To be extra-fancy, you can make a mini herb salad to place on top of the mushrooms. Combine the leaves of various soft fresh herbs, such as flat-leaf parsley and thyme, with nasturtium and/or other edible flowers, and dab them lightly with a little extra-virgin olive oil and lemon juice. For more information, visit

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