Tyler Williams of Woodfire Grill is known for his “playful cuisine” accenting fresh and local ingredients. He created this inventive dish with Lion’s Mane and Shiitake mushrooms, mixed greens, and antioxidant rich grains and tied all the flavors together with a fresh lemon vinaigrette and a simple, creamy miso aioli. I regrettably missed his presentation at the Morningside Market but wanted to post this since it was so well received.
I am always trying to incorporate mushrooms into our dishes at home, sometimes pureed since my daughter refuses to eat them. Mushrooms have so many health benefits and Lion’s Mane may be one of the best mushrooms to eat on a regular basis. Most of you have never seen or heard of Lion’s Mane mushrooms; they are rare to find but may be more readily available due to all the attention they are receiving for potential nerve-regenerative properties.
Studies have shown that Lion’s Mane mushrooms may reduce anxiety and improve your mood. They also may improve memory and help Alzheimer patients; the mushrooms can reduce the amyloid plaque formation seen in the brain of Alzheimer’s patients. Research has found mice can memorize a maze more easily after ingesting these mushrooms. If you have seen or know of more research on these mushrooms, please share in the comments below.
Photo Courtesy of Sparta Imperial Mushrooms
Most people cook the mushroom cap and disregard the stems and scraps of the mushrooms. The cap is more tender but the stems still have value and can be used to make a rich, roasted mushroom stock. Tyler provided detailed instructions below on how to make this flavorful stock. Use the mushroom broth in soups such as Dumpling Soup or even a vegetarian French Onion soup.
Working with rare and local ingredients has always been important to Tyler. Living in Portland, Oregon he saw first hand the numerous benefits of partnering with local farmers growing sustainable and organic food. He migrated to Atlanta after working for Thomas Keller’s Bouchon and Graham Elliot’s Michelin star rated restaurant in Chicago. Tyler worked as sous chef under Anne Quatrano at Bacchanalia and then as executive chef of Abattoir where he was awarded Chef of the Year in 2012 by Eater Atlanta and again in 2013 while at Woodfire Grill.
The nationally acclaimed, Woodfire Grill is a favorite of many native Atlantans and celebrities looking for a quiet, private restaurant. The menu changes daily to focus on the freshest, most flavorful ingredients. You may order several courses or indulge yourself in the 5 or 7 course chef tasting with wine pairings. For those of you striving to support local and organic restaurants, Tyler incorporates seasonal produce and cheeses from local farmers such as Crystal Organics, Moore Farm and Friends, and Sweetgrass Dairy to create the ingredient-focused cuisine. Woodfire Grill has been mentioned in highly regarded publications such as Bon Appetit, Food and Wine, Gourmet and Wine Spectator. The restaurant is located at 1782 Cheshire Bridge Road, Atlanta, Georgia. You will need a reservation.
1) Mushroom Stock- Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Spread the 3 pounds of mushroom stems and scraps on an ungreased baking sheet. Roast for 20 to 30 minutes, or until lightly browned. Turn the mushrooms once or twice during roasting to promote even browning. Transfer the mushrooms to a large stockpot and add enough cold water to cover the mushrooms by 2 inches. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat and simmer for about 1 hour. Strain the broth through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl. Press on the solids with the back of a spoon to extract as much liquid and flavor as possible. Discard the solids. Return the broth to the pot and bring to a boil over high heat and cook for about 20 minutes until reduced by half. Remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper. Cool in an ice-water bath. Use now or cover and cool for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 2 months.
2) Saute the Mushrooms- Saute the mushrooms in 2 tablespoons of organic canola oil until lightly browned. Remove from the heat and reserve. Heat 1 tablespoon of canola oil over medium heat. Toast the chili flake and sesame seeds until golden brown. Add the shallot, garlic and ginger. Cook until golden brown. Return the mushrooms to the pan and season with salt and pepper to taste. Increase the heat to high and add the sherry. Reduce until dry. Add the mushroom stock and the vinegar. Reduce until thick. Adjust seasoning to taste. Let cool.
3) Miso Aioli- Mix 1/4 cup of good mayonnaise with 1 tablespoon white miso paste. Whisk together until smooth.
4) Grain Salad- Mix together 1/4 cup cooked black quinoa, 1/4 cup cooked black lentils, 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, 1 tablespoon sliced chives, 1 teaspoon sunflower oil, and salt to taste.
5) Seed Mix- Mix together 1 tablespoon each of pumpkin, sesame, sunflower and flax seed. Reserve 2 tablespoons for mushroom salad. Use the remainder for granola or another recipe.
6) Lemon Vinaigrette- Zest 3 lemons and squeeze the juice, remove the seeds. Puree the lemon juice and zest in blender over high speed. Add 1 teaspoon of simple syrup (1 part sugar to 1 part water). Slowly drizzle the olive oil in while blending. Mixture will thicken. Season to taste with salt.
7) Salad Greens- Wash and trim the roots of foraged Miner’s lettuce or another readily available lettuce variety. Tyler used pea shoots. For more spring color, create your own mix of micro greens, golden pea shoots, pea blossoms, shaved fennel, Bachelor buttons, shaved radishes, and shaved carrots. Toss with the lemon vinaigrette right before assembling the mushroom salad.
8) Assemble the Mushroom Salad- Place a dollop of miso aioli on the plate. Top with the grain salad. Then add the mushroom mix. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of seed mix and top with miner’s lettuce. Enjoy!
You will find the Lion’s Mane and Shiitake mushrooms at Sparta Imperial Mushrooms. He sells them at the Morningside Market on Saturdays. You also may contact him through his website.
Pictures provided by TC Brodnax.