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“Chicken” Piccata made with Hen of the Woods Mushrooms (GF / Vegetarian)

Fried mushrooms that taste like chicken in a warm piccata sauce.

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VeloKitchen is a new cooking column by Chef Biju Thomas, co-author of the Feed Zone trio of cookbooks and a lifelong cyclist. VeloNews and Outside+ members get full access to not only his recipes, but to ask the chef himself for a personal recipe. Submit a cooking challenge to Chef Biju on Instagram.

Fall in most of America means mushroom season, and in parts of the midwest up towards the east coast that means an abundance of Chicken of the Woods. These are named so because they literally taste like chicken, and can be cooked in quite a few ways to mimic the texture, look and feel of chicken. You can find these flat mushrooms growing in thick orange clusters  shooting off of big trees. They look very much like inedible mushrooms so make sure to forage with someone experienced. 

This recipe challenge comes from mountain bike, gravel and adventure racing superstar Jeremiah Bishop, who went and found some Chicken of the Woods in his own Virigina backyard, then fried up some delicious looking crispy “chicken.”

Whether you are vegetarian or not, you will love a bucket of these cooked up in your own blend of secret spices. A close substitute is what I used — Hen of the Woods, which are available year-round at most grocery stores. 

Got a challenge or a recipe request for Chef Biju? Sent it to us on Instagram! If you’re lucky, he’ll accept your challenge and cook up something tasty for you.


Hen of the woods

  • 2lbs mushrooms, Hen of the Woods (maiitake) or foraged Chicken of the Woods
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 cups your favorite milk
  • 1 tablespoon of your favorite seasoning blend
  • Oil to fry (canola, light olive or veg oil)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Piccata sauce

  • 2 garlic gloves, minced
  • 1 small shallot or about 2 tablespoons red onion, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • 1 cup white wine


Clean the mushrooms:

Gently with a damp cloth or soft brush, wipe away any dirt, then trim off any tough parts and discolored portions. 

Blend the flour:

  • 2 cups flour (use any flour you like)
  • 1 tablespoon seasoning blend (I used a chunky garlic salt)
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp coarse ground salt

Mix all that together in a large bowl.


Prepare the mushrooms:

  1. Bring oil in a deep pan to a medium high heat.
  2. Lightly dust mushrooms in flour blend, then into milk, then back into flour blend, shake off any excess and place into hot pan.  Repeat with all remaining mushrooms.
  3. Set aside on paper towel to rest while you make the sauce.


Prepare the piccata sauce:

We’re just making a simple sauce with bright notes of lemon, fresh parsley, capers and garlic. You can substitute a plant-based butter, and use a splash of stock instead of wine.

  1. In a splash of olive oil saute minced garlic, shallots and parsley til slightly golden 
  2. Gently stir in butter until melted, then scoop in capers
  3. Keep stirring and pour in wine, splashes may flame up, but will only last a second
  4. Remove from heat, finish with a sprinkle of salt and pepper, and a squeeze of lemon juice.


Pour sauce over cooked mushrooms and eat, or plate up with some cooked pasta, rice or greens, and enjoy!