Hen of the Woods and Maine Lobster with Spring-Dug Parsnips and Cider Brown Butter

Eric Warnstedt

Hen of the Wood - Waterbury, VT

At his March Beard House dinner, Eric Warnstedt cooked up this dish featuring hen of the woods mushrooms—his restaurant’s namesake. Hen of the woods, also know as maitakes, are flavorful mushrooms that grow in small, fan-shaped clusters. Here they are paired with lobster and a delicious cider brown butter.


  • 2 parsnips, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) plus 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 sprig sage
  • 1 teaspoon cider vinegar
  • 6 ounces hen of the wood mushrooms, separated into bite size pieces
  • 1 cup cooked lobster meat
  • 1/2 shallot, diced
  • 1 teaspoon chopped thyme
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley


Preheat the oven to 350º F. On a baking sheet, toss the parsnips with olive oil and season to taste with salt and pepper. Roast until tender and golden on the edges, about 20 to 30 minutes.

Bring the cider to a boil in a pan. Boil until reduced by slightly more than half, about 10 minutes.

In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, melt 1 cup of the butter. Cook until foamy and nutty smelling and the butter under the foam is golden brown. Add the sage and cider vinegar and let rest for 1 minute. Pour off the butter into a small bowl, leaving behind the solids at the bottom of the pan. Add the reduced cider to the butter and set aside.

In a large sauté pan melt the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms, but do not stir or they will break. Cook for about 2 minutes, tossing the mushrooms in the pan once or twice, Lower the heat and add the roasted parsnips, lobster, shallots, and thyme. Add the brown butter mixture and gently stir. Cook for another minute to heat everything through. Add the lemon juice and parsley before serving.


4 servings