Lobster Mushrooms also known as hypomyces lactifluorum, appear to be white mushrooms with bright red skin, dense flesh and a slight seafood-like taste. The red skin makes them resemble a lobster, hence the name Lobster Mushroom. If you want to know the truth about these mushrooms, lobster mushrooms are really a symbiotic relationship between a red fungus and certain types of mushrooms. This fungus grows on the mushroom, which changes their outer color, shape, and also their flavor.
For example, lobster mushrooms can have a peppery flavor if the host mushroom is of a particular variety. These peppery mushroom are usually too hot for most people's taste, but the fungus chills the heat of the mushroom and makes it a little easier to eat. The fungus seems to improve the flavor of the mushrooms it inhabits.
Lobster Mushrooms Taste Great
Lobster Mushrooms can make a great meat or seafood substitute for vegetarians or vegans. They are great stir fried and have a nice taste and a dense texture. Lobster Mushrooms are also great in soups, chowders, risotto, stews, sautéed or baked. Lobster mushrooms can have a very wide range of flavor, and will easily pick up flavors from other ingredients when cooking. It is very common to prepare them with lobster or seafood and then add them to a dish near serving time. Over cooking will remove some of the flavor, so be sure to keep cooking time to a minimum. The red fungus coating makes an excellent dye, keep this in mind when preparing them in a festive, colorful dish.
Fresh lobster mushrooms are readily available in season, usually in the late summer (July through September). They are also available year round dried, they reconstitute fairly well, and can be added directly to soups and stews. Dried lobster mushrooms retain much of their flavor and texture, and have a much longer shelf life than fresh picked ones. Whether buying fresh or dried, always look for lobster mushrooms with a bright red skin and firm white flesh for best flavor.