These pan-fried pioppino mushrooms are rustic and lively with just the right hint of garlic and scallions. Serve them over a piece of toasted crusty bread, such as sourdough.
This easy lunch is “oh my God” good.
My guess is you’re here because you bought, or maybe foraged, some pioppino mushrooms and are wondering how to cook them.
You have yourself a gem!
I love trying new mushroom varieties, and pioppini (plural of pioppino) are a favorite. So let’s get cooking.
Pan-frying pioppino mushrooms really lets them shine as the star of the dish.
The butter, garlic and scallions perfectly complement the rustic flavor of pioppini, and their dense, chewy texture.
Pioppino mushrooms can also be used in stews, risottos and pasta. But, I recommend trying them as minimal as possible the first time, to familiarize yourself with the flavor of these beauties.
I’m pretty sure that after you try pan-fried pioppino mushrooms, you’re going to want to go back and buy, or forage more – stat!
About the Ingredients
Pioppino mushrooms (Agrocybe aegerita) are also known as velvet pioppino or black poplar mushrooms because they often grow on poplar trees.
They grow in clusters with tan or dark brown caps and long, cream-colored stems. The underside of the caps have white gills used for spore dispersal.
I sourced this fresh bunch of pioppini from Black Trumpet Farm at the North Asheville Tailgate Market.
Are the stems of pioppino mushrooms edible?
Yes, the stems of pioppino mushrooms are definitely edible. But you need to cook the entire mushroom first before eating.
Scallions (or red onion tops)
You can use either scallions or red onion tops in this recipe. This is a key ingredient that I don’t recommend omitting.
I use red onion tops because I often have them on hand from purchasing red onions at the farmers market. If you don’t have red onion tops you can use scallions, as the flavor is similar.
Scallions, and red onion tops, are milder than the onion bulb itself, so they won’t overwhelm your pioppino mushrooms with oniony flavor.
If you’re using red onion tops
When buying freshly-picked red onions direct from the farm, they often come with the green tops still in tact.
Don’t throw those out! I’ll explain below what parts make a great substitute for scallions in recipes.
The best part of the red onion top to use as a scallion alternative is the section between just above where the red onion bulb ends, up to where the dark green part becomes hollow.
If you’re using scallions
Use the white and pale green pale green parts. They are more dense than the hollow green tops, and will therefore give you a longer pan-fry time without becoming charred.
How to Pan-Fry Pioppino Mushrooms
I’ve specifically chosen to pan-fry these mushrooms because pan-frying uses lower heat and less tossing of the food than sautéing.
The stems of pioppino mushrooms are quite dense and need a lower heat to ensure they have time to cook through without burning on the outside.
My quick sautéed green beans recipe is an example of a sauté – we want the green beans to stay crisp, while still browning nicely on the outside.
For these pan-fried pioppino mushrooms we’ll start them on medium heat then reduce to low when they begin to brown so they have time to cook through without burning.
1. Clean and chop the mushrooms
To clean the mushrooms just give them a quick rinse under a slow-running tap to remove any dirt from their stems. Don’t soak them.
The small pioppini (less than 3 or 4 inches long) don’t need to be cut. But the larger mushrooms should be sliced in half lengthwise so the stems cook through. Then cut the stems into 1 to 2 inch lengths.
The reason we are cutting the stems into smaller lengths is because they are pretty chewy when cooked and this makes them easier to eat without a knife.
It’s not as pretty, but it’s a bit more practical. As you can see in my photos, I went with pretty over practical. 🙂
2. Begin pan-frying the mushrooms
When the mushrooms are prepped, heat a pan over medium heat. When the pan is hot, add the butter, then the pioppini when the butter starts to melt and sizzle.
Use silicone tongs to mix the mushrooms around in the pan so they are coated with butter. Watch them closely and nudge around the pan as needed while they fry.
3. When the mushrooms begin to brown, do this…
When the mushrooms begin to brown, turn the heat down to low (about halfway between your lowest setting and medium) so they can continue to cook without burning.
At this point, drizzle the olive oil over the mushrooms and add the scallions to the pan. Stir well.
Continue to let the pioppini cook, turning as needed so they brown evenly.
If the pan starts to get dry, add a little more butter.
4. Season with garlic, salt and pepper
When the mushrooms are just about browned to your liking (and look like the photo above), add diced garlic, salt and pepper to the pan. Turn the heat all the way down to low and stir until the edges of the garlic brown.
They are ready, remove from heat and serve.
What to Serve with Pioppino Mushrooms
These pan-fried pioppino mushrooms are delicious on slices of toasted and buttered crusty bread such as sourdough.
With their rustic, but also lively (from the garlic and scallions) flavors, they pair well with creamy mashed potatoes and steak. Or other veggies such as fennel, asparagus and carrots.
If you’re serving brunch, pioppini go well with eggs. Top those eggs with a grated Gruyère, Parmesan or Swiss cheese.
Pan-Fried Pioppino Mushrooms
- 4 oz fresh pioppino mushrooms
- 1/2 tbsp butter unsalted
- 1/2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 heaping tsp scallions or red onion tops, sliced Green and white parts if using scallions, just above the bulb if using red onion tops
- 1 clove garlic, medium finely diced
- 2 dashes salt
- 2 dashes pepper
- Clean and chop the mushrooms (slice large mushrooms in half lengthwise then chop the stems into 1 inch pieces)
- Melt the butter in the pan over medium heat and add the pioppini when it begins to sizzle. Stir well to coat.
- When the mushrooms begin to brown, turn the heat down to medium low and drizzle with the olive oil. Add the scallions to the pan. Stir well and continue to cook and turn the pioppino mushrooms so they brown evenly.
- When they are almost done to your liking, turn the heat down to low and add the garlic, salt and pepper to the pan. Continue to stir gently until the edges of the garlic start to brown.