As one of the most all-American recipes I know, chicken of the woods nuggets are a great way to introduce people to wild mushrooms that might be skeptical. It's also a great vegetarian mushroom recipe.
I thought I'd never make a recipe for mushrooms cooked like this, but I got enough comments and requests that I had to try it. It's really good, and, not surprisingly, uniquely suited to young sulphur shelf mushrooms as they can be cut into thick chunks. But, it's extremely important you have young, thick mushrooms. Older, thinner mushrooms could be tough.
Let's be honest: everyone loves crispy, golden brown nuggets with all the fixings. Besides learning how to make great mushroom nuggets, I'll also share the secret of how chefs make buffalo sauce in restaurants. Here's how it's done.
How to Make Chicken of the Woods Nuggets
First the mushrooms are par cooked in a pan with a little water. This tenderizes them, as well as ensuring they're safe to eat as all Laetiporus must be thoroughly cooked to be edible.
Par cook the mushroom pieces in a pan of water then remove to a bowl.
After the mushrooms are par cooked they're soaked in buttermilk. You can leave them overnight if you want.
After the mushrooms are soaked in buttermilk they're tossed with seasoned flour and deep fried. You can make a small batch in a deep pot, ideally using a thermometer to monitor the temperature of the hot oil.
After the mushrooms are fried they're drained on a tray lined with paper towels for a moment.
To make the buffalo sauce, heat some Franks Red Hot sauce or your favorite brand with a little butter until thickened.
More Fried Mushroom Recipes
Buffalo Chicken of the Woods Nuggets
- 3 quart capacity pot such as cast iron for deep frying.
- 2 medium mixing bowls
- 8 oz fresh young chicken of the woods
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ cup water
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1-2 cups frying oil such as peanut or grapeseed
- ⅔ cup all purpose flour GF is ok too
- ⅓ cup cornstarch or potato starch
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
- ⅓ cup Franks Red Hot or your favorite hot sauce
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- Blue cheese dressing
- Celery sticks peeled with a vegetable peeler and cut on the bias into 2-3 inch pieces.
- Fresh greens for garnishing the plate, such as nasturtiums (optional but makes it feel less like bar food)
Par Cook the Mushrooms
- Put the water and salt in wide pan with a lid that can accommodate the chicken mushrooms. Add the mushrooms, cover and bring to a simmer. Cook for 5 minutes or until the mushrooms are just cooked. Remove the mushrooms and discard any liquid.
- Put the mushrooms in a container they can fit snugly in and cover with the buttermilk. From here the mushrooms can be made up to two days ahead of time, or they can be cooked a few minutes after soaking in the buttermilk.
Fry the Mushrooms
- In a small pot, heat the oil until 350 F.
- Please note that the amount of oil you use can vary depending on the size of your pot. You may need up to 2 cups of oil. You want the oil deep enough for shallow frying.
- Remove the mushrooms from the buttermilk with a slotted spoon and toss in the flour mixture to coat well.
- Working in two batches (or one if your pan is large, say 10 inches wide) fry the mushrooms for 5-10 minutes or until very crisp.
- Remove the mushrooms to a tray lined with paper towels for a second to drain, then transfer to a mixing bowl. If you need, the mushrooms can be kept warm in an oven while you prepare something else.
- Meanwhile, in a small pot or in the microwave, heat the Franks Red Hot Sauce and the butter, stirring occasionally to incorporate. When the butter is incorporated, pour the hot sauce over the still piping hot chicken mushrooms in the bowl, toss to coat well.
- Arrange the chicken mushrooms over the greens on a serving plate, along with the celery sticks and ramekins of blue cheese dressing for dipping.