“If you don’t see any mushrooms, just stop, stand still, and look.” I remembered this advice from an experienced forager as I brushed off the frustration of an empty-handed foray into a patch of woods in Hinesburg with Phil last week. I took a pause, softened my gaze, and looked around the forest floor. Almost immediately a log, lush with fresh pear-shaped puffballs, appeared before my eyes. I bent down and pinched one to check its freshness. Yes, perfect. Just then, Phil called out from across the trail to let me know he found a Lion’s Mane — an elusive mushroom that has the texture and flavor of seafood, specifically scallops and crab.  In the past year of foraging, we had only found one Lion’s Mane, so this was a treat. By the time we left the forest, we had gathered over 10 pounds of fresh, wild mushrooms. It was a good day.

I love to cook with mushrooms for many reasons. They’re nutritious, have great anti-inflammatory properties, impart great umami flavors into any dish, and pair with just about any other ingredient. We got home from our hunt, and I got to work with the puffballs. A simple sauté with olive oil, garlic, and fresh rosemary was all they needed. That, with a nutritional yeast gravy over August First toast? Heaven on a plate. The Lion’s Mane was a bit more involved. I knew I wanted to make something special, so I followed a classic crab cake recipe, but subbed the shredded mushrooms for the crab. I bumped up the spice level, and made my own bread crumbs from August First rolls. Paired with a simple Sriracha mayo, they made for a fun weekend dinner.

A display of foraged mushrooms

Mushroom Toast with Nutritional Yeast Gravy

*Note: Phil and I have done extensive research to learn about mushroom foraging. Please use commercial mushrooms in this recipe, unless you are an experienced forager!

INGREDIENTS

For the mushrooms

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 pound mushrooms, coarsely chopped (we recommend Baby Bellas)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

For the nutritional yeast gravy

  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 3/4 cups water
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp mustard
  • 1/4 tsp sriracha
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • Salt, to taste

Mushroom Gravy Ingredients

DIRECTIONS

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and mushrooms, stirring occasionally until mushrooms are lightly browned, about 5-7 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Add rosemary, salt, and pepper. Cook until the mushrooms are soft, about 3-4 minutes.

In a large skillet over medium heat add the nutritional yeast and flour, whisking constantly until aromatic, about 2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium. Add the oil and whisk for 30 seconds. Pour in the water and whisk vigorously until it thickens, about 1 minute. Remove the gravy from heat. Stir in the soy sauce, mustard, sriracha, black pepper and salt.

Serve warm gravy over toast with mushrooms.

NOTE: If the gravy thickens, it can be thinned by adding water.

*Recipe adapted from The Farm Vegetarian Cookbook

Vegan Gravy

Mushroom and Gravy Toast

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