Lion’s Mane Mushroom “Crab” Cakes

My skipper and I went to the Annapolis Farmer’s Market last weekend and were a little overwhelmed. Along with all the root vegetables, berries, cheeses and honey, we were totally drawn to José and his table of mushrooms, from The Bay Mushrooms. I was on a mission to purchase some oyster mushrooms, but my eyes latched onto the Lion’s Mane Mushroom. I had recently seen them on a friend’s Instagram and was totally intrigued because I had never seen a  “furry” mushroom before. After a discussion about Galley Pirates (from the bag I was carrying), I asked him how to prepare Lion’s Mane mushrooms. He handed me a fat snow white mushroom and said “Here you go. You tell me!” So off I went to research recipes, and discovered some that would make any Marylander smile. I finessed this recipe to share with all you pirates out there.

Imagine a small melon wrapped in a plush terrycloth towel, this is a Lion’s Mane Mushroom:

It is a saprophytic (decomposing) fungi found on decaying trees and said to have the flavor, color and texture of lobster or seafood. This is what makes them a perfect vegetarian substitute for crab cakes. You can read all about them here. One large mushroom can make 4 small to medium sized cakes. If you want more cakes, double the recipe.

Lion’s Mane Mushroom “Crab” Cakes

1 Lion’s Mane mushroom, approximately 4″x5″
1 tablespoon EVOO, total
1 garlic clove, pressed
1 scallion, minced
1 tablespoon minced onion
1 egg
1/2 cup+ bread crumbs
1/2 cup milk
2 teaspoons Hot Old Bay Seasoning or to taste
(or can be substituted with 2 teaspoons Old Bay Seasoning and a teaspoon hot pepper flakes)
1 tablespoon minced parsley
1 tablespoon flour to help bind
1/2 tablespoon butter

Chop the Lion’s Mane mushroom in 1/2″ sized chunks (about the size of a lump of back fin meat). Sauté in the 1/2 tablespoon EVOO on low. Add the pressed garlic and sauté gently until the mushroom sweats and moisture is released. This could take up to 15 minutes or so.

Press the mushroom meat into a colander, using a piece of paper towel to help absorb the water. The goal is to get the mushroom meat as dry as possible so the cakes hold together better. Place in a medium sized bowl.

Mince the onions and place with the mushroom mixture. Add the rest of the ingredients except the parsley and the flour. Blend all ingredients well together then add the parsley.

Blend well and form a tennis ball sized cake to see how well the mixture holds together. If it does not hold together well add some flour and mix in with your hands.

Shape into cakes. Roll in a few Panko bread crumbs and sauté in 1/2 tablespoon EVOO and butter on medium-low until browned, 3-5 minutes. Gently flip the cakes over and brown the other side.

Serve warm with sauce of your choice. A “cheaters” garlic aioli works well: Combine mayonnaise, a clove pressed garlic, olive oil, lemon juice and salt. Whip together until well blended and serve.

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