Go Back

Bears Head Mushroom Crabcakes

Servings 4
Author Forager Chef


  • 1 lb bears head mushrooms
  • 2 large or medium eggs + 1 yolk
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Seasonings can be adjusted to what's on hand use cilantro instead of tarragon, etc
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2-3 scallions tender green and white parts only quartered the long way and diced into 1/4 inch squares
  • 1 small clove garlic grated or smashed to a paste about 1/2 teaspoon
  • Zest of half a lemon or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cut chives
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped Italian parsley
  • Good pinch of fresh chopped tarragon plus more to taste optional
  • Cayenne or a shot of Tabasco to taste
  • 2-3 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons grated high quality parmesan like Reggiano


  1. Break the Bears Head into manageable sized pieces so that you can inspect and clean it. If the mushroom is very clean, great, if it's dirty, dip it quickly into a sink or bowl of cold water, give it a firm "swish" then wrap it in a towel to dry and weep water.

  2. After the mushrooms are cleaned, preferably all together in a large, high sided pan, sweat them in the two tablespoons of butter and a good pinch of salt, covering the pan with a lid to help them wilt, try not to brown the mushrooms since you want the finished cakes to be white inside, keep an eye on them so they don't stick.
  3. Water will come out of the mushrooms while they cook, especially if you had to wash them. When the mushrooms are completely cooked through and wilted, transfer them to a bowl and allow to cool until you can handle them. Squeeze the mushrooms to release excess water, then reserve the mushrooms and juice separately.
  4. Chop the mushrooms medium-fine then transfer to a mixing bowl and add the remaining ingredients, starting with the breadcrumbs. Work the mixture around to saturate the breadcrumbs, (add some of their liquid if you need). Try forming a small quarter sized piece of the mixture and cooking to check the seasoning and how the cake holds together. Adjust the seasoning if needed for, heat (cayenne) salt, lemon, and tarragon if you feel it's needed, then take 1/4 cups of the mixture and pack into a ring mold, pressing down so they hold their shape.
  5. Fry the cakes in oil or butter on both sides until golden and eat hot, I like to garnish them with spicy mayonnaise, made with sriracha mixed with aioli, or even Hellmans in a pinch.

Recipe Notes

Hericium can hold a lot of water which I like to cook out for the most firm, meaty cake possible. I sweat the mushrooms until they wilt to begin the cooking process, squeeze out the water, then chop the mushrooms, recombine with their juice and cook until the mushrooms are glazed in their liquid to not waste anything, but you can just squeeze the juice out of them and discard too. If your mushrooms were very clean and you didn't have to rinse them in water, you may not need to squeeze out much liquid at all after you've wilted them