It was the dog days of summer, and I was craving something cold, and not about to turn on the stove. Heat saps my appetite too, so I don’t eat too much when it’s really hot.
In the fridge was a pile of lobster mushrooms. The lobsters are so big and chunky, but what could I make with them cold? Maybe, I thought, they could be roasted on the grill, diced and mixed with some other ingredients like I do with chilies and green tomatoes for salsa verde, or just plain old salsa. Cold, spicy, bright with fresh lime juice, the thought made my mouth water. Lobster mushroom salsa it would be.
I built a wood fire in the grill (so much for not turning on the stove) and got to work with the biggest mushrooms I had, letting them grill nice and slow over the wood while I sat in the shade and drank beer with the dog. Afterwords I took the mushrooms and used them instead of tomatoes, in what is likely the most expensive salsa I’ve ever made, considering lobsters will retail anywhere from 10-40$ (wholesale and retail, respectively). It would’ve tasted even better allowed to marinate in the fridge for a day, but, a cold beer and the smell of peppers charring over a wood fire could rouse hunger in the dead, so It didn’t last long.
Calling the spicy marinated mushrooms salsa might seem like a bit of a stretch, but, purists can go pick rocks. The mushrooms take the place of the tomatoes, so if you wanted, you could also call it a relish, but there’s a little tomato in there, as something needs to add the juiciness of a fresh salsa.
The smoky flavors of the wood fire and the cilantro-lime-onion-chili mixture typical of salsas will invoke the need for tortilla chips, and it’s great with them. Basically, it’s just a fun recipe for lobster mushrooms, that, if you’ve been in the woods lately, are probably in your fridge right now.
Aside from your basic tortilla chips and beer scenario, the mushroom salsa would also be great made with huitlacoche, but then you would saute the mushrooms instead of grilling them. Other than with tortilla chips, too, this would also be great, warm or cold, as a relish with fresh masa cakes, on top of quesadillas, or in freshly warmed tortillas with your favorite taco meat.
A note on marinated lobster mushrooms
I go over this specifically in the recipe, but as it’s important with lobsters I’m making an extra note of it. First, I grill the lobster mushrooms whole, or in large chunks so they can char a bit, and that means that it’s possible for some people to undercook them.
If, for any reason you question your ability to judge how thoroughly cooked your lobsters are, after charring them on the grill, you should bake them in the oven at low temp, say 250, for roughly 20 minutes, just to ensure they’re thoroughly cooked.
Also, this is a marinated dish to be eaten within a couple days, not a pickle, or salsa to can in jars, which you could definitely make, but I would use a PH tester, and likely increase the amount of lime or tomato to ensure a proper canning acidity/PH.
Grilled Lobster Mushroom Salsa
- 1 lb firm fresh lobster mushrooms, preferably big ones you can char a bit on the grill, washed and cleaned
- 1 medium sized yellow onion finely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic I like to grate this on a microplane but you could finely mince it
- Juice of 1 fresh lime or more to taste
- 1 small jalapeno
- 1 ear of sweet corn optional
- Fresh chopped cilantro to taste
- 1 small tomato blanched, peeled, seeded, and coarsely chopped
- Kosher salt to taste
- 2 tablespoons flavorless oil
- 1 poblano pepper another chili you can roast, or a small red bell peppe
- Preheat a grill using wood. Toss the lobster mushrooms with the oil. Put the mushrooms on the grill along with the jalapeno, poblano, onion, and corn, and cook each of them until charred and cooked through.
- It's especially important that the mushrooms be cooked through, so if they are getting nice and browned and you're worried about them getting too dark, move them to the outer edges of the grill to avoid scorching them, they shouldn't be blackened, just charred here and there. The vegetables on the other hand should have a nice amount of char on them, since it adds a nice flavor.
- Remove the vegetables and mushrooms and cool until you can handle them. If you are at all unsure about the done-ness of your lobster mushrooms, or your lobster mushrooms are very large, put them in the oven at 250 for an additional 20 minutes to completely heat them through.
- Cut the lobster mushrooms into 1/2 inch pieces, about the size you would cut tomatoes for fresh salsa. Using gloves or being careful, peel the jalapeno, poblano or other chili if using, then cut into small dice.
- Cut kernels from the corn, then add all the ingredients to the lobster mushrooms and mix in a bowl, adding the roasted peppers to taste, as they will be spicy! Double check the seasoning, adjust for salt, lime, and cilantro until it tastes good to you, then refrigerate. The salsa should be eaten within 3 days.