Mushroom Picatta

I grew up hating mushrooms (along with avocados and raw tomatoes – I know, I’ve heard it a zillion times before: how did you ever become VEGAN?! Somehow, I managed it.). When you grow up hating something, you tend not to know how to cook it. It took me a while to come around to the idea that I actually do like the little spindly mushrooms (I’m still working on the big meaty ones like portabellos or those slimy white button mushrooms), especially when they’re crispy! I whipped this up the other night and really enjoyed the results. You may want to moderate the amount of lemon juice because it can overpower the mushrooms’ delicate and subtle taste (otherwise known as dirt), but if you love lemon and its tangy goodness, go for it.

I’ve got Waddlin’ Around by The King Khan & BBQ Show on at the moment, and there’s something eerily fitting about the song and the fact that I’m cooking mushrooms. You’ll just have to listen to it and judge for yourself (well, maybe not so much the video since they’re scarfing burgers…), but the song itself fits. I think it has something to do with the fact that they’re waddlin’ and mushrooms are short and squat…

The only way to eat mushrooms IMHO, unless they're in hot and sour soup!

So this is a super easy recipe, because it all depends on a big-ass tupperware and your ability to shake it.

  • 2-3 cups of mushrooms (shiitake, brown beech, enoki, etc.)
  • t tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp corn meal
  • 1 tbsp unbleached flour
  • healthy dash of salt and pepper (use Zatarain’s if you want to get cheeky)
  • 2 tbsp avocado oil (my newest discovery; any cooking oil will work though)

Wipe the mushrooms down with a damp paper towel (don’t wash them), and snip off the ends of the stems, particularly if they’re coated in dirt. Toss them into a large tupperware (that has a lid), then add the lemon juice. Stick the lid on and give it a shake. Now add the rest of the ingredients and shake-a-shake-a-shake. Place a large frying pan over medium-high heat, then add the oil and wait for it to heat up. Once the oil’s hot, toss in the mushrooms and spread them out as much as possible. Let them sit on whatever side they fall on to for at least 3 minutes – or whenever they start to brown. You’ll want to turn them once they’re brown and not before. The less mucking around the better, because you’ll get a nice crispy coating if you cook them evenly and turn them minimally. The whole thing should take less than 10 minutes. You may want to add a little oil when you turn them if you want them REALLY crispy and decadent, but they should be fine with 2 tbsp. Serve as quickly as you can, otherwise they’re start to soggify.

Variation: if you’re not crazy about lemon, use soy milk as the binder. You’ll get a smoother flavour.


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