Don’t get me wrong, we were repulsed by and hated liver and onions when we were forced to try it growing up, I tried it and didn’t like it at all, not one bit. So … why are we doing it now you ask?
Good question, self. Because it blows my friggin mind that we can recreate this as a healthier, creative, plant punishing way that we love to eat, now! And it helps that we know we aren’t swallowing some other being’s innards for our mere entertainment or survival. We’re funny like that.
Check out these cute little Tribble look-a-likes that you may remember from Star Trek (aka Lion’s Mane mushrooms).
Here we’ve created a much cleaner, less tinny, plant-pushing power house that is life promoting and not only tastes great but also is texturally on point. This shizzle is down right dope! As my boy would say. SIck!
To properly preform this kitchen circus act, we suggest using two cast iron pans of the same size. Or, one cast iron pan and a brick or two wrapped with foil to act as the weighted press for our wicked healthy press-cooking method we’ve had so much success with.
Don’t be intimidated by the press method! All we’re doing here is adding weight to force the moisture out of the shrooms and get an even sear and char on each side so they can develop a dense and meaty texture with a nice crust. Once most of the moisture is gone, that’s when your shrooms can start developing a little color and caramelization on the outside, which provides that great contrast to the dense, softer texture on the inside.
One thing to note when pressing the crap out of these bad boys, and some other mushrooms, is how much water actually comes out of them, cause they all differ. Lion’s mane in particular exude a lot of moisture: consider them being like a self-contained firm sponge that’s dry and soft to the touch. The key is to start off with a hot pan and a little oil to start with and have your seasonings ready on the side. Once the pan is hot, add the oil then add the mushrooms and give it about a minute to sizzle and get used to the heat then add the additional pan as a weight. No need to add any more pressure right away, just let the natural weight of the top pan rest on the shrooms for about 2-3 minutes. Remove the top pan, and flip the mushrooms over and again set the top pan on to rest. Now is when the water will really appear as it slowly begins to condense and flatten. Here is when I do one of two things: either remove the top pan until the juices in the pan dissolve while it is cooking or you can carefully pour off the juices and save them to deglaze the pan after—it is the natural flavor after all.
During this process it is best to lightly season during the flipping process, and I’ve noticed seasoning works best at the second flip mark so the top pan never touches any of the fresh seasoning. I don’t want it to get stuck on the bottom of the top weight kinda thing … you following me? So always make sure the freshly seasoned side is the bottom side and you’ll have a great result.
I will add more pressure and weight after most of the juices have dissipated either by pressing with my hands or adding another weight to the top press pan. This will help flatten out the shroom into cutlets. Once they’re where you want them to be, remove them from the pan and either pop them in a low-heat oven to further cook or drench them in a marinade for later (when it’s supper time, that’s when I’ll reheat and serve). Mushrooms are so resilient and can really take the cooking and still maintain the soft meaty texture inside. They’re so remarkable!
And every shroom needs a little glaze to go over the top to add a rich note and a little sauciness. Here we’ve also whipped up some fluffy, mashed taters to scoop up with our forks to create the perfect, balanced bite. And no plate is complete without a pop of green, so a serving of simple, steamed asparagus on the side balances everything out here.