You can satisfy your hankerings for deep-fried mushrooms without a trip to the local pub. Making them at home allows you to control the type of mushroom and coating you use, as well as the dipping sauce. While most cooks use button mushrooms, other varieties, such as porcini, cremini and shiitake, have distinctive flavors. Batter and bread the mushrooms, submerge them in a hot oil bath, and minutes later you’ll be enjoying a crispy, indulgent snack.
Cleaning and Prepping Mushrooms
Use a damp paper towel or a soft-bristled brush to remove any dirt from the mushroom’s surface. Avoid cleaning them with water to prevent saturating them, but, if they're really dirty, you can briefly rinse them with cool, running water; pat them dry. Button mushrooms are often fried whole, but they can be cut in half or into slices if preferred. Slice larger mushrooms like portobellos into smaller pieces to ensure doneness without overcooking. Remove the tough, inedible stems from shiitakes.
Batter Up, Then Bread
The key to achieving deep-fried mushrooms with a crunchy exterior is to first batter them; then, dredge them in breadcrumbs. Mix up any type of batter you like, from a simple flour, water and egg mixture to a beer batter. Kick up the flavor with additional seasonings such as garlic salt, lemon pepper seasoning or cayenne pepper. Completely submerge the mushrooms in the batter, letting the excess drain; then coat them in breadcrumbs. Alternately, use homemade or panko breadcrumbs. Or, skip the breadcrumbs, but add a spoonful of baking powder to the batter to give the final product an airy crispness.
You can deep fry mushrooms in a skillet or a deep fryer, as long as the vessel allows you to completely submerge them in oil. Bring the oil of your choice -- vegetable or peanut -- to a temperature in the 350 to 375 degree Fahrenheit range. Carefully drop in a few mushrooms, one at a time, so they don’t stick together. Fry them for 3 to 4 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy. Remove them from oil and let them drain on paper towels to remove excess oil. Sprinkle with salt and serve with your favorite dipping sauce.
Serve deep-fried mushrooms with any dipping sauce you like, but creamy accompaniments such as ranch dressing and horseradish sauce are a cool complement to piping hot and crispy mushrooms. Alternately, use a creamy aioli seasoned with a squirt or two of lemon juice and salt and pepper, to taste, or a few dashes of cayenne pepper.
- BBC: Food: Recipes: Deep-Fried Mushrooms
- Saveur: Recipes: Deep-Fried Shiitake Mushrooms
- New Jersey Monthly: Restaurants: Fried Hen-Of-The-Woods Mushrooms with Horseradish Cream
- The Mushroom Lover's Mushroom Cookbook and Primer; Amy Farges and Christopher Styler
- Photo Credit IslandLeigh/iStock/Getty Images
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