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  • Writer's pictureEd Joice

Lemon Chicken over Pesto

Lemon Chicken over Pesto

Chicken of the woods is perhaps the most novel mushroom because it not only has that umami taste that is associated with meat but it has the actual texture of real chicken meat. Because of this, I like to treat it like chicken--grill it, deep fry it, bake it. This recipe involves brining the mushroom in a preserved lemon and olive oil, as you might with chicken, baking it at 375 for 20 minutes, then shredding it and tossing it with rotini and pesto. It will make your mouth water.


1 lb chicken of the woods mushrooms in large pieces

4 whole preserved lemons, rinsed and cut into thin strips

¼ c of the lemon juice/saline water from preserved lemon jar

2 tbsp olive oil

1 lb of rotini pasta

½ c grated parmesan or asiago

¾ c pesto (to taste)

A few chopped dried chilis (optional) + crushed red pepper flakes


  1. Rub the mushroom with olive oil and 3 of the preserved lemons. Place into baking dish and cover with lemon juice/saline mixture. Throw in some crushed dried chilis to infuse a little heat, if you like. Place into refrigerator for about an hour before preparing dinner.

  2. When ready, preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

  3. Fill large pot with water and bring to boil.

  4. While water and oven are heating, pour off excess liquid from mushrooms, but keep a tbsp of brine and a few of the preserved lemon peels plus the remaining lemon’s worth of peels. This can be set aside for later.

  5. Bake mushrooms in dish for 20 minutes. Once done, shred mushrooms with two forks.

  6. While mushrooms bake, add pasta to boiling water. Cook to desired level of doneness and strain. Immediately toss pasta in lemon brine and lemon peels. Add pesto and stir. Add shredded mushrooms and stir.

  7. Serve in pasta bowl, sprinkled with crushed red pepper, parmesan cheese and wood sorrel, arugula or other greens of choice.


#chickenofthewoodsofitaly #preservedlemon #foragedfood #minnesotamushrooms #stolenfrommnforager #winnerwinnerchickendinner #chickenofthewoods

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