Lion’s Mane Mushrooms sauteed with garlic, butter, and salt is the absolute best and easiest way to prepare and cook this delicious wild mushroom.
While Lion’s Mane mushrooms grow in the wild, my first taste of this sumptuous funghi was from a friend’s homegrown harvest. He was growing Lion’s Mane among other mushroom varieties to study their uncanny ability to clean up land pollution, otherwise known as “bioremediation.” The list of benefits mushrooms give our bodies and the land is truly inexhaustible!
I first came across the concept of mycoremediation (bioremediation with fungi) when I lived in Ecuador. Two friends were living in the Amazon and researching the potential of oyster mushrooms to feed on oil and clean up commercial spills that had devastated villages and bodies of water throughout the jungle.
Their project awakened a deep knowing inside me, that the living beings around us – fungi, plants, animals, trees, and so on – are intelligent beyond belief. (If you have any doubt, dive into Michael Pollan’s The Botany of Desire). If we humans could just leave Mother Earth to her own devices, she could heal. If we could reacquaint ourselves with the living world around us and listen for her guidance, passed down from our elders, we could support her wellness. It’s possible!
We can start with the simple act of befriending a local “weed” – like Plantain – and learning what medicinal and nutritional wisdom she has to offer, and how we can tend and protect her. The weed then ceases to be a green splotch beneath our feet, but a sacred source of power for bee stings, scrapes, cuts, tick bites and baby spring salads. Slowly, the world around us becomes part of us, and we can kindle a newfound and deserved respect for Mother Earth.
The best way to start breaking down the unidentifiable “green wall” is with a local foraging hike. In Ithaca, my dear sister-mamma Sarah Kelsen guides plant walks on the grounds of Firelight Camps and the trails of Buttermilk Falls State Park. A foraging adventure is applicable in every season, so you can begin to know the environment in which plants grow and the various body parts of each being, such as the trunk, leaves, flowers, fruits, and seeds.
Getting outside and interacting with nature will unlock the primal wisdom we all have to live in harmony with the earth. And once you’ve had a taste of that bliss, you’ll want to pass it on by sharing an edible or medicinal gift you find, for money has no place in the forest.
One of the ways you can share nature’s gifts is by cooking food for others, which is precisely how I first came to know Lion’s Mane. For me, cooking with wild food is a way of celebrating its very existence, and by doing so, it’s important to understand the nature of our chosen ingredient. What food does it best pair with, does it deliver the most flavor with, and if the latter, how so (baked, fried, grilled, and so on)?
This sort of knowledge must be gathered from mentors, books, and the world-wide-web, and combined with experimentation. I usually like to start simple, and luckily, Lion’s Mane mushrooms prefer simple preparation as well–just garlic and fat, like butter or oil.
With love and gratitude // E
What Do Lion’s Mane Mushrooms Taste Like?
Lion’s Mane has a flavor and texture similar to lobster or crab; stringy, meaty, and delicate. Once cooked, it’s slightly chewy, tender, and juicy.
How to Source Lion’s Mane Mushrooms
Lion’s mane mushrooms are in season during late summer through fall. You can also buy Lion’s Mane Mushrooms at our local farmers market, mushroom grower, or specialty health food store. With a little online research, you can even find spores to grow your own!
How to Store, Clean, & Prepare Lion’s Mane Mushrooms
Store unwashed lion’s mane mushrooms in a brown paper bag in the refrigerator. Avoid storing them in the vegetable drawer where there’s too much moisture. You want to place the mushrooms where air can flow around them. This will prevent them from getting soggy or moldy. Just keep in mind that some wild mushrooms store better in the fridge than others. Try your best to buy lion’s mane mushrooms close to when you plan to cook them.
To clean the lion’s mane mushrooms, use a brush to remove any dirt particles. Then, wipe the mushroom clean with a paper towel. If the mushroom is particularly dirty, a quick dunk in a bowl of salty water will rid dirt or bugs. Avoid soaking the mushroom in water for too long otherwise, they will get water-logged and become soggy when cooked.
How to Cook Lion’s Mane Mushrooms
The key to cooking any wild mushrooms is simplicity. To cook lion’s mane mushrooms first, slice them into ½-inch steaks (like a cauliflower!). Heat a skillet over medium heat and do not add any oil. Dry saute until the water releases from the mushroom and the edges start to brown. Then add a healthy pad of butter (or olive oil for a vegan alternative). Cook the lion’s mane mushrooms until golden brown, about 3-5 minutes each side. When cooked properly, the lion’s mane mushroom has a meaty texture.
Lion’s Mane Mushrooms Health Benefits
Having been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries, the lion’s mane mushroom is a medicinal powerhouse. Here are just a few of its many health benefits:
- Supports the brain, heart, and gut health.
- Protects against dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and depression.
- Helps reduce the risk of heart disease, strokes, and ulcers.
- Rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties.
More Lion’s Mane Mushrooms Recipes
Lion’s Mane Mushroom Crab Cakes (via Forager Chef)
Lion’s Mane Mushroom and Onions (via Wicked Healthy Food)
Lion’s Mane Mushrooms with Saffron and Apples (via Seasonal & Savory)Print
Sautéed Lion’s Mane Mushrooms with Garlic
Adjust the amount of oil, butter, and garlic according to the amount of mushrooms you have. You really can’t go wrong with the quantities, however, overcompensate for oil and butter as the mushrooms absorb them fast!
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Total Time: 20 minutes
- olive oil or butter
- minced garlic
- lion’s mane mushrooms, sliced 1/2-inch thick
- chopped cilantro or parsley
- toss with a batch of nutty, gorgonzola
- toss with quinoa dressed with olive oil and sea salt
- toss in a salad of: shredded beets, carrots, and celery with toasted sunflower seeds and Umeboshi Plum Sauce thinned with olive oil
- Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat, don’t add any oil yet! Dry sauté the lion’s mane mushroom slices until the water releases and edges start to brown. Remove from the skillet and transfer to plate.
- Add a healthy pad of butter (or olive oil for a vegan alternative) and the garlic. When the garlic is fragrant, add the lion’s mane mushrooms back into the skillet.
- Sauté the mushrooms on each side until golden brown, about 5 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and serve!
If your lion’s mane mushrooms are particularly large, you can slice them into steaks, then quarter them into more bite-size pieces.
Keywords: lion's mane mushrooms, wild mushrooms, foraged mushrooms, foraging, simple mushroom recipe
Craving more? Find more wilderness recipes likes this one in my cookbook Feast by Firelight!