Lion’s Mane, Hericium erinaceus, is one of the most delicious and highly prized treasures that we forage for in cool weather. Like their cousins, coral toothed and bears head fungus, lion’s mane taste a bit like lobster or crab with similar texture. When this fabulous foraged food is added to au gratin potatoes, it is magical. It’s lobster au gratin without the hefty grocery bill!
If you are lucky enough to score a huge Hericium specimen, you can cut it into thin slices, sauté, freeze, and make this dish anytime of the year. I will be pulling Lion’s Mane from the freezer to make this again when we dig our new potatoes in a few months.
This recipe will either make a 9″x 13″ casserole dish or two shallow 9” rounds. So, for small families like ours, you’ll have a dish for dinner and a dish to stash in the freezer for an easy side. I love freezer sides! Just assemble and freeze the unbaked dish. Once it’s frozen, wrap in foil then plastic wrap. Or, if you have a vacuum sealer, seal the frozen dish in a large vacuum seal bag. When you are ready to enjoy it, thaw first then bake.
This cheesy umami filled casserole is great with steaks, fried chicken, or as a vegetarian main course. The recipe yields 8-10 delicious servings.
- 1 sweet onion
- 2-3 cups sliced/shredded lion’s mane fungus
- 5 cups sliced Yukon Gold potatoes
- 2 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 cups grated sharp cheddar
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup bread crumbs
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- Clean the Lion’s Mane with as little water as possible, then cut into 1/8″ slices. Some of the meat of the fungus will fall apart and it will resemble crab meat. Dry thoroughly on paper towels.
- Slice potatoes 1/4″ thick, and boil in salted water until fork tender. Drain well.
- Half and thinly slice a sweet onion. Saute the onion in olive oil over low heat until it is caramelized. Remove from pan, and set aside.
- Add a bit more olive oil to the pan, and saute the Lion’s mane over medium heat until it has released all moisture and has started to brown.
- Push the cooked mushroom to the sides of the pan creating a well in the center of the pan. Add butter and flour in the center of the pan. Cook butter and flour over medium heat for one minute, stirring slowly. Then, stir the butter-flour mixture into the Lion’s Mane.
- Slowly stir milk until combined and thickened.
- Add 1 cup Parmesan, the cayenne, and the salt.
- Fill casserole dish or dishes by layering ingredients starting with 1/2 of the potatoes, 1/2 cheese, onions, 1/2 of the Lion’s mane cream sauce, and then repeat with the remaining ingredients. Top with bread crumbs and paprika.
- Bake at 375° F for 35 minutes.