Lion’s Mane Crab Cakes
The house that I grew up in sat about a quarter mile from a large marsh between our side of town and the barrier islands of coastal New Jersey. There was a trail next to the train tracks that led out into the marsh and at low tide the blue crabs were so abundant under the train bridge that you could basically catch them with your bare hands. Growing up there, I took that access to fresh seafood for granted and now that I live in western Pennsylvania, about 400 miles from the ocean, I can fully appreciate the culinary excellence of my mom’s crab cakes. Since Silvan and I are working to produce as much of our own food as possible through gardening, foraging, hunting and fishing, crab cakes aren’t really on the menu in western Pennsylvania. Luckily, we’ve developed a workaround using homegrown Lion’s Mane that is, dare I say, almost as good as my mom’s classic crab cakes. If Chicken of the Woods mushrooms are named for their culinary similarities to poultry, then perhaps a more fitting name for Lion’s Mane mushrooms is King Crab of the Woods. Their meaty texture shreds up into fine white meat that looks almost identical to steamed crab meat and their mild taste allows the chef to impart onto them whatever flavor they choose. I challenge anyone who doesn’t like mushrooms, but does like seafood to try making lion’s mane crab cakes and I’m confident it will change your mind.
- ½ lb. of fresh Lion’s Mane mushrooms or other Hericium species
- 1/2 cup of crushed crackers or panko breadcrumbs
- 1 tbsp. flour
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 2 tbsps. mustard
- 2 tbsps. fresh parsley
- 1 tsp. Old Bay Seasoning
- 1 chopped red bell pepper
- ½ tbsp. oil
- ¼ cup mayo
- ¼ cup ketchup
- 1 tsp. lemon juice
- 1 tsp. old bay
- Hot sauce to taste
- 1 tsp. cumin
- Shred the Lion’s Mane mushrooms into small chunks that resemble jumbo lump crab meat and set them aside in a bowl.
- Mince your parsley finely and chop your bell pepper into quarter inch cubes. Set those aside with the shredded Lion’s Mane.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the egg, mayonnaise, mustard and Old Bay.
- Once the egg mixture is smooth and homogenous add the Lion’s Mane, parsley and bell pepper and stir to combine.
- Once it’s well incorporated add the crushed crackers or breadcrumbs and the flour. Mix until you can form a ball that will hold itself together loosely. Add more flour if needed for support.
- Depending on the size of the patties that you want, either use a quarter cup or a half cup to measure out individual crab cakes and pour them directly into a skillet with oil on medium-low heat.
- Sauté for about 5 minutes on each side or until they get nice and brown. This recipe makes 10 medium patties (quarter cup) or 5 large patties (half cup).
- For the remoulade, simply combine all ingredients into a bowl and whisk until it is smooth and incorporated.
- These Lion’s Mane “Crab Cakes” are good enough to eat on their own, but if you want to take it to the next level, put them on a potato bun with a pickle, some remoulade and French fries on the side. One bite of this and you’ll be transported from the forest to a salty marsh.