Snacking on Shrooms

Russell Hollander, founder of the Naples-based Care2Grow, dishes on the benefits of mushrooms and shares one of his favorite recipes

King oyster mushrooms, Pleurotus eryngii, on a blue plate and a dark rustic wooden table, copy space, high angle view from above

Several years ago, Russell Hollander purchased a mushroom-growing kit as a gift. After storing the kit in his closet for a couple of weeks, he noticed oyster mushrooms growing out of the side. Intrigued, he cooked and ate the mushrooms and later used the box to grow more. Eventually, Hollander started the Naples-based mushroom farm Care2Grow and is now a self-professed mushroom lover. “I learned so much about how they’re really beneficial for our health and our environment and how fungus is really the basis of all soils on Earth,” Hollander expounds. Mushrooms are high in essential nutrients like zinc and selenium and a good source of protein, fiber, and antioxidants. Hollander recommends lion’s mane and king trumpet mushrooms, both of which he sells at the Third Street South Farmer’s Market. For a delicious mushroom substitute for popcorn chicken, try Hollander’s recipe below. 

Popcorn Lion’s Mane


1/4 lb. lion’s mane mushrooms

Vegetable oil (for frying)

Salt for taste

Wet batter:

1 tbsp. Cajun seasoning

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. onion powder

1 cup all-purpose flour

2 tbsp. cornstarch

2 eggs

1 cup milk, buttermilk, or Greek yogurt

Dry batter:

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. black pepper

1 tsp. paprika


Tear or cut the lion’s mane mushrooms into 1-inch cubes. Prepare the wet and dry batters. Add 2 inches of oil to a shallow pan over medium-high heat. Dip the mushrooms into the wet batter and next the dry batter. Fry on one side for 5 minutes. Flip and then fry for an additional 3-4 minutes or until golden brown. Transfer to rack or paper towels to dry. Salt immediately and enjoy!

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