½ pound chicken of the woods
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp salt, plus more for sprinkling
Fresh ground black pepper
About 1 cup neutral oil, such as grapeseed or canola, for frying
Cut your mushrooms into flat, tender-like pieces, ideally not more than ½ inch thick. Discard any woody pieces. Give your mushrooms a good scrub to get rid of any dirt, then let them dry on a towel.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, salt, and a few cranks of fresh ground black pepper. These seasonings give the tenders a really good diner-chicken-tender flavor, but you could go in any number of directions with the seasoning. In another medium bowl, whisk together your eggs.
Once your tenders are cut and dried, dredge them first in the seasoned flour, shaking to remove any excess. Then dredge them in egg, allowing any excess egg to drip off. Then, go back into the flour, shaking once more to remove excess. Set aside.
Heat a large frying pan (cast iron is ideal here) over medium heat. When your pan is hot, add oil—enough for a shallow fry. 1 cup was perfect for my 12-inch cast iron pan.
When the oil is hot, add a batch of tenders, taking care not to overcrowd the pan. Fry on one side until golden brown, and then flip, cooking for about 2-3 minutes on each side.
When both sides are golden-brown, take the tenders out of the pan and place them on paper towels to drain. While they’re still hot and oily right out of the pan, season generously with salt. Don’t be skimpy with the salt! They might be foraged wild mushrooms, but they’re still fried food.
Serve immediately with your favorite fried food dips. I recommend a honey mustard made with the Midwest’s own Kream Mustard.