King Mushrooms with Black Sesame Somen
The Japanese grocery had fresh firm king trumpet mushrooms, a magnificent seven inches long. What luscious things I could do with those! They needed something smooth and rich, but a little risqué—a little salty, a bit unfamiliar—like a glaze of soy sauce and butter.

Chopped sweet red pepper and green onions attract the eye with garish color, so the diner will be surprised by the elegance of the brown mushrooms. The velvety, chewy long thin mushroom slices contrast with the thin somen noodles coated with crunchy black sesame seeds.

Once-exotic mushrooms
— king trumpets, maitake and shimeji —
get ready to rise on Southern California turf
L.A. Times

“OF COURSE, farming mushrooms is nothing new. They’ve been cultivated for centuries and the introduction of large-scale mushroom growing in the U.S. dates to the 1890s.

In San Marcos, just north of San Diego, the Japanese mushroom giant Hokto Corp. is working with its American partner, Golden Gourmet Mushrooms, to build a massive, Space Age growing facility that within just a couple of years will be producing as many as 6 million pounds of these exotic mushrooms annually. (Shimeji, Hen-of-the-Woods, and King Trumpet)

The king trumpets are also called king eryngii, or king oysters (technically they’re Pleurotus eryngii, and are closely related to the common oyster mushroom, Pleurotus ostreatus). King trumpets are almost all stem and are large — commonly 3 or 4 inches long and sometimes as many as 6 or 7. Their texture is firm and meaty and their flavor is mild.”

King Mushrooms with Black Sesame Somen
recipe by Tess
2 servings


  • 1 7-inch king oyster mushrooms (stem and cap)
  • 2 ½ Tablespoons butter
  • 1 ½ Tablespoons soy sauce


  • 1 Tablespoon toasted black sesame, crushed
  • 2 green onions, sliced diagonally 1-inch long
  • ½ small baby cucumber, roughly chopped (optional)


  • 2 bound sheaves of somen

Wipe the mushroom with a paper towel. Slice it thinly lengthwise, rotate the stack of slices 90° and slice lengthwise again. You are making long mushroom “matchsticks.”
Heat a pan and melt the butter, add the mushroom slices and fry for a few minutes. Add the soy sauce and stir to be sure the mushrooms are coated. Heat for a minute but don’t let the soy sauce burn. Set aside.
Toast the black sesame seeds and crush in a suribachi.
Slice the green onions, and chop the cucumber.
Boil the somen, drain, and rinse.
Toss the noodles with the sesame seeds and divide into bowls. Top with the vegetables and mushrooms.


5 thoughts on “King Mushrooms with Black Sesame Somen

  1. Just gorgeous, Tess, and I know the combination of soy and butter is a wonderful pop of flavor. I will try this and if I can find king oyster mushrooms, all the better.

    Years ago, Mark Bittman appeared on a local NYC cable show with hosts Jeffrey Steingarten and Ed Levine, and made a rib eye steak seasoned with soy and butter. I imagine the meaty mushroom has something of the same flavor. The show was low budget and a hoot, BTW, as you can imagine with Steingarten making outrageous comments and enjoying himself thoroughly.

    • Yes, soy sauce and butter….
      A few years ago, the soy sauce/butter idea was popular on Japanese (food) blogs. Sort of a fad taken up as ‘cool’ by both East and West then? Still, it is very nice.
      Wish I’d seen Bittman and Steingarten talking about steak. LOL!

      • Must HAVE been an East/West thing, but it’s good.

        You should have seen this show. It was on a public access channel and there were NO production values, but Steingarten was at his finest. Five days a week no less. A little bit of heaven for those of us who are a mite twisted. ;-)

          • Since I couldn’t remember the name of the show, I searched and found it was called NY Eats and was on the NYC Metro Channel from 1998-2000. Not on YouTube, but there may be some clips floating around out there.

            DD and I would watch in the late afternoons — such fun! Ah, for simple pleasures. :)

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