King Oyster Mushroom Steaks with Pesto and Almond Aillade


Chef Julia Sullivan employs a duo of cast-iron skillets to prepare the tender, crispy-edged mushroom steaks at Henrietta Red in Nashville; one for cooking the mushrooms, the other for pressing them flat so they cook evenly. Buttery roasted almonds balance the sharper notes of garlic and lemon this rustic French sauce.

King Oyster Mushroom Steaks with Pesto and Almond Aillade
Photo: Photo by David Malosh / Prop Styling by Amy Wilson / Food Styling by Maggie Ruggiero
Active Time:
35 mins
Total Time:
55 mins


  • 1/2 cup raw almonds

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided

  • 1 garlic clove, coarsely chopped

  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest plus 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, divided, plus more zest for garnish

  • 1 3/4 teaspoons kosher salt, divided, plus more to taste

  • 6 king oyster mushrooms (about 2 pounds), trimmed and halved lengthwise

  • 6 tablespoons olive oil, divided

  • 1 teaspoon black pepper, divided

  • 1 1/4 cups refrigerated pesto

  • Flaky sea salt, to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Spread almonds in an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven until toasted, 8 to 10 minutes, stirring once after 5 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes.

  2. Coarsely chop almonds. Place almonds, 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, garlic, lemon zest, and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt in a food processor. Pulse until mixture is finely chopped, about 12 pulses. Transfer mixture to a small bowl. Stir in remaining 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil; add kosher salt to taste. Let stand at room temperature at least 30 minutes.

  3. Score the cut sides of each mushroom half with a 1/8-inch-deep diamond pattern. Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high. Place 6 mushroom halves, cut sides down, in hot oil. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Wrap the bottom of a second large cast-iron skillet with aluminum foil, and place on top of mushrooms. (If using a lighter skillet, weight down with canned goods.) Reduce heat to medium; cook mushrooms, weighted down with skillet, until golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove top skillet; flip mushrooms, and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Continue cooking mushrooms, weighted down with skillet, until tender and golden on both sides, 4 to 6 minutes. Remove mushrooms from skillet. Return skillet to medium-high, and repeat process with remaining olive oil, mushrooms, kosher salt, and pepper.

  4. To serve, spoon about 3 tablespoons pesto on each of 6 plates. Top evenly with mushroom halves and almond aillade. Drizzle with lemon juice; sprinkle with flaky sea salt to taste, and garnish with additional lemon zest.

Make Ahead

Almond aillade can be made up to 3 hours in advance.

Suggested Pairing

Fresh, lightly almondy Orvieto.

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