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Hetty McKinnon's Pan-Seared King Oyster Mushrooms with Whipped Almonds

  • 10 mins
  • |
  • 30 mins
  • |
  • Serves 4

"King oysters are mushroom royalty, with a robust flesh that offers a substantial and satisfying chew. Known for their regal tree shape (they are called trumpet mushrooms in some parts of the world), they are they perfect mushroom for pan-searing, the hot surface ensuring a swift char, while the flesh becomes juicy, with a distinct nuttiness. The thick stems are the meatiest part of king oysters and are often used to imitate meat in plant-based cooking. Here, they interplay joyfully with the creamy whipped almonds — a hummus-like sauce that is extra nutty. Almonds are a harder nut and don’t blend as easily as cashew nuts, so i work around this by using flaked almonds, which soften quicker. If you only have whole almonds, simply chop them up roughly before soaking. Serve with bread of flatbread to mop up the delicious whipped almond sauce."

- Hetty McKinnon

Hetty McKinnon's Pan-Seared King Oyster Mushrooms with Whipped Almonds


  • 500g king oyster mushrooms
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3-4 thyme spriges
  • sea salt and black pepper
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • handful parsley leaves
  • handful of toasted flaked almonds
  • 2 cups sliced raw almonds
  • 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 80ml lemon juice (from about two lemons)
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 1 tsp sea salt


  1. Soak the almonds for the whipped almonds in 250 ml (1 cup) of boiling water for 20 minutes.
  2. I like to slice the mushrooms two different ways to create a visually interesting dish. Cut half of the mushrooms vertically into ‘tree-shaped’ slices and cut the other half horizontally to create 8–10 mm thick discs.
  3. You will need to cook the mushroom in batches. Heat a large frying pan over medium–high heat, add a generous drizzle of olive oil and lay out the mushroom in a single layer (as many as you can fit). Top with a few thyme sprigs and, using a spatula, press the mushroom down into the hot pan and cook, undisturbed, for 5–7 minutes, until seared and golden. Flip the mushroom over and cook the other side until golden (if the pan starts to smoke too much, reduce the heat to medium). When the mushroom is ready, transfer to a plate and season with sea salt, black pepper and a squeeze of lemon. Place the frying pan back over the heat and cook the remaining mushroom.
  4. Meanwhile, to make the whipped almonds, add the almonds and their soaking water, the garlic, tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, parsley and sea salt to a blender or food processor and blitz. It may take 5–10 minutes (depending on how powerful your machine is) to get the almonds really smooth and creamy. If it’s too thick, add a little more water and adjust the sea salt, black pepper and lemon to your liking.
  5. Dollop the whipped almonds onto a plate and place the mushroom on top. Finish with the parsley leaves, toasted flaked almonds, a squeeze of lemon juice and a drizzle of olive oil. Season with sea salt and black pepper and serve.

Recipe from Tenderheart by Hetty McKinnon, published by Plum, RRP $59.99, photography by Hetty McKinnon.