Sesame Baked Chicken of the Woods Mushrooms
Recipe and photos by Alan Bergo
As a child, my absolute favorite dish my mother LaRae made, that her mother made for her, was sesame baked chicken. Chicken of the woods is a great stand-in for chicken in most recipes, and, dipped in sour cream batter and baked golden brown, crusted with sesame seeds and breadcrumbs, you may not even miss the chicken. Serve it as a center-of-the-plate item with a salad as pictured for an entrée, or alongside meat as a side dish with your favorite vegetables. If you’re new to cooking chicken of the woods mushrooms, make sure to also check out my recipe for Chicken Fried Chicken of the Woods, one of the most popular recipes for this mushroom on the web that is available at foragerchef.com/
1 lb young, tender chicken of the woods mushrooms
Sour cream brine
1.5 teaspoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon dried crushed ramp leaves (optional, 2 teaspoons of onion powder can be substituted)
6 oz sour cream
1 large egg + 1 yolk
½ teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
½ cup breadcrumbs
½ cup sesame seeds
Fresh lemon wedges, or your favorite dip, for serving
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
A fresh green salad, pictured is watercress with violets and wild mustard flowers (optional)
Combine the sour cream, egg and yolk, salt, pepper, and ramp leaves or onion powder in a bowl. Mix the breadcrumbs and sesame seeds in another bowl. Preheat the oven to 350. Clean the chicken of the woods and cut into roughly 1.5-2 oz pieces about the size of a child’s fist.
Using a fork or toothpick, pierce each mushroom and dip into the sour cream-egg mix, then into the sesame mix.
Sprinkle on extra sesame mix as needed, transferring finished mushrooms to a baking sheet or pan, such as a cast iron skillet.
Add the butter to the pan around the mushrooms.
After 10 minutes, when the butter is melted, take the pan out of the oven and baste each mushroom with some of the butter, then put back in the oven and bake until golden.
This should bread one pound of mushrooms, but you will have sour cream mix leftover. You can easily scale the recipe up for larger batches, taking into account you’ll probably go through sesame mix faster than the sour cream batter.
About the Chef: Chef Alan Bergo is a Midwestern native. After 10 years working under chefs from Italy, he was sous chef to Chef Lenny Russo at St. Paul’s 7-time James Beard nominee Heartland, executive chef of the Salt Cellar, and finally, chef at farm to table cornerstone Lucia’s in Minneapolis.
He’s best known as a leading authority on culinary uses of mushrooms and plants via his website Forager | Chef: the largest resource on wild mushroom cookery on the web.
His first book in his three-part series, an exploration of wild plants, herbs, garden vegetables, nuts and starches titled: The Forager Chef’s Book of Flora, was released in June 2021. Learn more at
An important note from Outdoor News! Make certain you are familiar with wild mushroom identification. Chef Bergo has a robust library on his website dedicated to the various types of mushrooms, with details on the Chicken of the Woods found here foragerchef.com/chicken-of-the-woods-mushrooms/
Or visit https://minnesotamycologicalsociety.org/ with members who work with professional mycologists to improve their mushroom identification skills, build the mycological collection at the University of Minnesota, educate the public about fungi and assist the Hennepin County Poison Center in mushroom identification.