Because mushrooms are watery, any deep fried mushrooms recipe takes a little finesse. But only a little, and only if you insist on crispy mushroom chips.
The big trick is to fry them very quickly in very hot oil. If you fry them too slowly the batter will never get crisp and your oil will be infused with mushroom juice. Sure, infused oils are very popular today but, trust me, you don't want mushroom juice in your cooking oil. Snap. Crackle. Pop. Mush.
The second trick is to serve them immediately. Remove the mushrooms from the fryer, drain, and pour into paper-lined baskets, one batch per guest. It's fun, and the mushrooms don't have time to get soft. Set out seasonings, toppings and sauces, and each guest can customize their "batch" to taste.
1-1/2 pounds white, cremini or button mushrooms
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder or granulated garlic
1-1/2 cups water
1 egg, beaten
Start heating the oil, 375˚ or a little more. It should be very hot but not smoking. Test it with a drop of batter; it should sizzle and float.
Wipe the mushrooms clean and slice them to 1/4-inch thickness or halve the button mushrooms.
Combine the flour, salt, pepper, baking powder, garlic, water and egg in a medium bowl. When the oil is up to temperature, drop a handful or two of mushroom pieces into the batter, shake off any excess, and fry until golden brown, just a minute or 2. Remove, drain and serve in baskets, bowls, or plates lined with paper toweling.
Makes about 10 servings. It's good to set out extra salt, pepper, and garlic along with cayenne pepper, Parmesan cheese, and dipping sauce. Truffle oil is a nice touch, too.