Appetites: The best way to find and cook wild mushrooms

mushroom dish in cast iron
A sautéed mushroom dish in a cast iron skillet.
Ashley Moyna Schwickert of Studio Moyna

It’s prime season for mushroom foraging, but you don’t need to risk poison ivy to make the most of it.

You can pick up all kinds of wild mushrooms at your nearest farmers market, said Appetites regular Beth Dooley, author of “The Perennial Kitchen,” and she’s got plenty of tips for how to cook them, too.

From chestnut to lion’s mane, Dooley said mushrooms are a perfect conduit for flavor and can enhance the nutrition of any dish.

Listen to the full conversation by clicking play on the audio player above and check out an easy mushroom recipe below.

Recipe for Mushroom Sauté

Serves about 2 to 4

• 2 lb. cultivated wild and domestic mushrooms (shiitake, cremini, oyster, lion's mane, chestnut, etc.)

• 3 tbsp. unsalted butter

• 1 medium onion, diced

• 2 cloves garlic, smashed

• Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

• 2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme

• Pinch red pepper flakes

• 1 tbsp. tomato paste

• 1/2 c. halved cherry tomatoes

• 1/2 c. white wine

• 1/2 c. vegetable or chicken stock, more as needed

• 1/4 c. chopped parsley


Brush the dirt from the mushrooms with a damp paper towel or cloth. Trim off the tough stems and slice the mushrooms about 1/8-inch thick.

Melt the butter in a wide skillet set over medium heat. When the butter begins to foam, add the mushrooms, and toss with the butter. Cover the pan, reduce the heat, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms release their juices, about 3 to 5 minutes.

Remove the lid and add the onion and garlic. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and add the thyme and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring, until the onions become tender and the mushrooms are dark and begin to stick to the pan, about 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and cook until browned, about 30 seconds to 1 minute.

Add the tomatoes and then stir in the wine and stock, scraping up any browned bits clinging to the bottom of the pan. Lower the heat and simmer until liquid has thickened and reduced, about 5 minutes. Serve garnished with the chopped parsley.

Need a mushroom source?

Just because you’re not a forager doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy wild mushrooms. These local companies do the work for you.

Forest Mushrooms: This family-run farm outside of St. Joseph has been growing oyster, shiitake and other specialty mushrooms since 1985. Find them in local grocery stores or buy dried online right from the source.

R & R Cultivation: The urban farm in New Hope run by two friends started small in 2018 and quickly grew in scale and size. Available in many metro-area grocery stores and co-ops, as well as on the menu of local restaurants. Varieties include maitake, black pearl, chestnut, lion's mane, oyster and more.

Northwoods Mushrooms: What started as a small urban farm in the Twin Cities farm is now an expansive farm in Clayton, Wis. Find them at local co-ops and markets, or preorder mushrooms and pick them up at the Mill City Farmers Market. Varieties include chestnut, oyster, black poplar, lion's mane, shiitake and more.