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IDEA ALLEY: Mushrooms request nets two versions

by Kelly Brant | December 30, 2020 at 1:43 a.m.
(Illustration by Kelly Brant)

Recipes that appear in Idea Alley have not been tested by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

A phone message sent me scrambling deep into the Democrat-Gazette archives. The caller was looking for a recipe for fried mushrooms like those served long ago at The Leather Bottle.

Unfortunately, I did not find a recipe for The Leather Bottle's fried mushrooms. In fact, I was surprised by how few recipes I found for fried mushrooms.

The most recent was in 1984.

If you have a favorite recipe for fried mushrooms you'd like to share, please email it to kbrant@adgnewsroom.com

Beer Batter Fried Mushrooms

  • 1 cup PLUS 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil (or corn oil or peanut oil)
  • ¾ cup beer at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons lukewarm water
  • 1 egg, separated
  • 1 ½ pounds fresh button mushrooms
  • 1 teaspoon finely minced garlic
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Ground black pepper
  • Oil for frying
  • Sour cream, horseradish or ranch dressing, for serving

In a mixing bowl, combine the flour and a pinch or so of salt and add the oil, beer and water stirring with a whisk until blended. Beat in the egg yolk. Cover with a clean cloth and place in a warm spot for 2 to 3 hours.

In a separate bowl, beat the egg white until stiff. Fold egg white into flour mixture.

Small, bite-size mushrooms can be left whole, but medium to large mushrooms should be halved or quartered.

Place the mushrooms or mushroom pieces in a mixing bowl and add the garlic, lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste. Toss and let stand until ready to cook.

The mushrooms can be battered raw and fried, but for the best results, steam them first.

Bring an inch or so of water to a boil in a pot. Place the mushrooms in a steamer basket and lower the basket into the pot. Steam for 3 minutes. Drain and let stand until cool.

Heat the oil to 375 degrees in a heavy pot or deep skillet.

Add the mushrooms or mushroom pieces to the batter. Working with one piece at a time, lift a mushroom from the batter using the tines of a two-pronged fork and quickly add it to the hot oil. Repeat with additional mushrooms, but do not crowd the pan. The mushrooms will sink, then rise to the surface as they fry. Cook, stirring them gently to prevent clumping, for 3 to 4 minutes or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels.

Serve hot with desired sauce for dipping.

Makes about 50 pieces.

■ ■ ■

I also found this one from 1952 that is a bit vague in its instructions. It skips the beer and adds baking powder.

Viennese Fried Mushrooms

  • Large fresh mushrooms (amount not given)
  • ½ cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Salt
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Oil, for frying

Leave about an inch of stem intact on each mushroom and peel the caps.

In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, a pinch salt, milk and egg. Dip each mushroom into batter and fry in hot oil until browned. Drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with salt and serve.

Email recipe contributions, requests and culinary questions to: kbrant@adgnewsroom.com

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