Fried mushrooms

Fried mushrooms

Funghi fritti

Emiko Davies; Lauren Bamford

The end of summer is synonymous with mushrooms – and when mushrooms are mentioned in Tuscany, they’re usually talking about porcini. This is a delicious and straightforward way to enjoy these particularly meaty and earthy mushrooms – simply cut into thick slices, dusted with flour and thrown into a pan of bubbling oil.

Nineteenth-century gastronome Pellegrino Artusi has a recipe for funghi fritti among his 790 recipes in Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well (1891). It doesn’t include any measurements but offers good advice on how to choose and prepare the best mushrooms for frying. Medium-sized porcini are best, he says, as large ones will be too soft and spongy, while small ones too hard. Cut the stalks where they touch the earth and wash them whole, quickly – but do not soak them or you’ll lose part of their unique aroma. His fat of choice for frying mushrooms is olive oil and he thinks dipping the mushrooms in egg is ‘superfluous’ – here I disagree, as I am rather partial to the light, crisp, bubbly coating that the egg adds. If you want to keep these simple, omit the egg and simply dust the mushrooms in flour, Artusi’s way.


Quantity Ingredient
400g fresh porcini mushrooms
plain flour, for dusting
1 egg, chilled, (optional)
olive oil, for frying


  1. Rinse the whole mushrooms quickly under water, drain, then thoroughly pat dry with a clean tea towel. Slice into 1 cm thick slices.
  2. Arrange the flour in a shallow bowl. Beat the egg (if using) in a separate shallow bowl and place in the fridge until needed. Dust the slices of mushroom first in the flour, coating well and evenly. Shake off the excess and place on a wire rack until all the slices are coated in flour.
  3. Pour enough olive oil into a medium saucepan so that the slices of mushrooms can float – at least 2–3 cm deep – and place the pan over medium–high heat. When the oil temperature reaches about 170°C, begin frying in batches (see ‘Tips for a good fry’). If using the egg, dip the floured mushroom slices in the chilled egg to coat on both sides, just before placing immediately in the hot oil. Fry each batch for about 90 seconds, until the outside is crisp and golden and the inside is soft and cooked.
  4. Remove slices from the oil and drain on paper towel, then serve hot, sprinkled with salt. Serve immediately.


  • If you can’t get fresh porcini mushrooms, replace with sturdy, meaty mushrooms like king brown or portobello.

Tips for a good fry

  • Use chilled eggs for ultimate crispness.

    The olive oil should be hot enough to cook the mushrooms through, but not too hot that it burns the outside and leaves the inside raw – ideally, it should be about 170ºC. If you don’t have a sugar thermometer to measure the temperature, do it the old-fashioned way and test by placing the end of a wooden spoon in the oil. Tiny little bubbles should immediately appear around the edges.

    Fry in batches and don’t overcrowd the pan or you’ ll reduce the temperature of the oil too much, resulting in soggy batter.
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