This cauliflower mushroom recipe is luxurious and rich, the perfect way to make the best of these uncommon and delicious wild mushrooms. Wild mushroom gratin has a creamy, spinach laced inside with a crisp, garlic and herb crumb topping. Easy and fast to put together with just a few simple ingredients!
What is a cauliflower mushroom?
While out mushrooming recently, my husband found a real treasure, a cauliflower mushroom. We have found them before but it's been awhile. Cauliflower mushrooms are not as prolific as many of the other wild mushrooms around here but the fun thing about them is that they can get HUGE. They can vary from 1-10 pounds and sometimes even larger!
The cauliflower mushroom we got was about twice the size of an adult head. I'd estimate it weighed about 2 pounds and it was a beauty. Fresh and relatively clean, it smelled wonderful, woodsy and mushroomy-we were so excited!
How to cook cauliflower mushrooms
We cooked up a pan full of this choice wild mushroom right away with a little butter, garlic and parsley, then spooned the pieces onto little toasts topped with a little parmesan. We were in heaven, yum! These are easy to fry or saute, in fact you can use the same recipe I use for my Fried Oyster Mushrooms for a simple and reliable result. Cauliflower mushrooms can be torn apart into bite size pieces just like oyster mushrooms. They do hold mush more water than oyster mushrooms though, so they will need to cook a little longer.
Next up we needed a mushroom casserole and that's how why I created this cauliflower mushroom gratin recipe.
Taste, smell and appearance
Cauliflower mushrooms are easy to identify with no really close look-a-likes and they are definitely a choice mushroom. They smell and taste amazing with a clean herbaceous mushroom aroma and a nice firm texture despite their delicate and frilly appearance. Creamy white, the texture looks very delicate but is actually firmer and sturdier than you might think.
How to clean cauliflower mushrooms
You need to clean them carefully because there are a lot of spots dirt and bugs can hide but I found tearing it into large chunks as I went made it easy. I cleaned mine with some running water which worked well, the mushroom didn't seem to absorb much water and as I cleaned each chunk I laid them on a clean tea towel to dry a bit before cooking.
If your mushroom is particularly dirty or has small bugs, try immersing it in a bowl of cold salt water and then gently cleaning it there before rinsing with clean water.
More ways to use this mushroom
After we finished our mushroom toasts, I made a pasta with both cauliflower and chanterelle mushrooms, Italian sausage, tomato, chili flakes, and a little cream. (Have I mentioned that mushrooms are one of my favourite foods? #givemeallthemushrooms)
What to serve with mushroom gratin
Creamy and garlicky with a crispy topping of parsley, cheese and bread crumbs this is my ultimate comfort food. Serve it with some fresh veggies and something with protein.
Another lovely menu would be Apple Walnut Salad and some fresh pasta to serve under the gratin.
Last fall we paired with with a roast chicken and squash cooked in our little cabin oven. It made a soul-warming dinner on a dark and cold fall evening.
Step by step instructions
Preheat oven to 350'F
Wash or brush clean your cauliflower mushroom and tear into large bite sized pieces. Remember they will shrink as they cook so make them at least double the size you'd like them to end up.
Make the bread crumb mixture by pulsing garlic, parsley and salt in a food processor until the garlic is chopped well, then add the bread and pulse until it is an even fine bread crumb mixture.
Heat the oil in a large pan on medium, once heated, add the mushrooms and saute until they are cooked down and liquid is gone, then add stock and simmer until liquid is reduced by half.
Add sour cream, ½ cup of the cheese, and spinach if using. Stir gently to incorporate and wilt spinach, then add ½ of the bread crumb mixture and stir in.
Season to taste with salt and pepper then scrape mixture into an oven safe 9x7 baking dish.
Mix bread crumbs and remaining ½ cup of cheese together and sprinkle evenly over mushroom mixture and bake in oven until browned on top, approximately 20 minutes.
Substitutions, Variations and Tips
- I've used cauliflower mushrooms here because we had found a large, fresh one this year and despite it's delicate appearance, it keeps a nice firm texture once cooked. This would be wonderful with other wild mushrooms too, like chanterelles or a mixture of soft and firm mushrooms like lobster and oyster.
- Cauliflower mushroom gratin is easy and can be assembled ahead of time, then baked just before serving.
- I used some spinach in this which I loved but my husband and daughter thought the spinach was too strong so use it or omit it as you feel.
Cheers to the good things!
Wild Cauliflower Mushroom Gratin
- 6 c Wild Mushrooms, Washed And Cut Into 1-2 " Pieces
- 2 tablespoon Olive Oil
- 1 c Vegetable Stock
- 1 c Sour Cream (Light is fine but not fat free)
- 2 c Spinach (Optional)
- 1 c Grated Old Cheddar, Divided Gruyere is also delicious
- Salt And Pepper To Taste
Bread Crumb Mixture
- 1 ½ c Dry Bread
- 2 cloves Garlic
- ½ c Parsley
- ½ teaspoon Salt
- Preheat oven to 350'F
- Make the bread crumb mixture by pulsing garlic, parsley and salt in a food processor until the garlic is chopped well, then add the bread and pulse until it is an even fine bread crumb mixture.
- Tear mushrooms apart into extra large bite size pieces. Heat the oil in a large pan on medium, once heated, add the mushrooms and sauté until they are cooked down and liquid is gone, then add stock and simmer until liquid is reduced by half.
- Add sour cream, ½ cup of the cheese, and spinach if using. Stir gently to incorporate and wilt spinach, then add ½ of the bread crumb mixture and stir in. Season to taste with salt and pepper then scrape mixture into an oven safe 9x7 baking dish.
- Mix bread crumbs and remaining ½ cup of cheese together and sprinkle evenly over mushroom mixture and bake in oven until browned on top, approximately 20 minutes.