One of the most exciting food experiences I had recently was the discovery that I could make a meal that looked and tasted like crab cakes, using Lion’s Mane mushrooms instead of crab meat. The trigger to this marvel was a recipe I received from Villa Creek, one of my favorite California winemakers.
I tried it a few weeks ago, and it was remarkable good and evocative of real crab.
I’m somewhat familiar with Lion’s Mane mushrooms. I take a supplement made from them by Fungi Perfecti. While it is impossible to prove it, my experience is that their claim of enhanced mental clarity, focus, and memory is substantiated. At age 81, I need those things, and it seems to be working.
Lion’s Mane also taste good, when prepared properly. I find that they need quite different treatment than other mushrooms, but we’ll save that discussion for another day.
We are fortunate to have an excellent local supplier of fresh mushrooms, Fat Moon Farm. The owner, Elizabeth Almeida, and her small crew grow superb Oyster and other mushrooms, including Lion’s Mane. Normally, I buy a bag of mushrooms to cook with. Recently, I decided to purchase a grow kit for Lion’s Mane, just to try it out. This dovetailed perfectly with the crab cake opportunity.
It took two weeks, starting with a block of sawdust infused with Lion’s Mane spores, to grow two lbs. of fully-grown mushrooms. All it took was spraying the block several times a day and waiting patiently for the results.
Here is the evidence of my first effort:
An intriguing part of the process to make these cakes is the use of a 2-inch hard plastic cookie cutter being used as a form to shape the mixture into a firm and attractive “crab” cake. A couple of weeks later (due to popular demand from my main customer (wife)), I made another batch, with more careful attention to the shaping and frying, as is shown below.
Many white wines would go well with this dish. I particularly enjoyed this very-affordable Chardonnay from Burgundy; thank you, Eileen and Social Wines.