Cooking mushrooms can be done in a variety of ways including: sauteing, microwaving, roasting … you name it. Cooking mushrooms or cooking with them can be a lot of fun with just a little creativity added.
Mushrooms are no doubt one of our most flavorful and versatile foods. They can be an accent, an addition, a flavoring, or the main event when you have an idea of the basic processes involved. You can however sometimes get disappointed at the final turn out if you take things like the selection, buying,and handling process lightly.
Mushrooms are like vegetables. They have different flavors and widely varying textures, colors, moisture content and water absorbency.
Hence, the various species respond to cooking processes differently. Many mushrooms only respond well to certain cooking techniques.
As a dried product it does not reconstitute well for cooking but makes a truly great powder for seasoning when used in small quantity or flavoring when used in larger quantity. Is a truly wonderful mushroom when sautéed but is really not that great.
The oyster mushroom (Pleurotus ostreatus) is a fairly good mushroom when sautéed, though it’s flavor is a bit understated and the texture can be a bit chewy.
When cooked with batter its goodness really comes out. Oysters have a beautiful anise aroma when first picked. This aroma is ephemeral often dissipating within a few hours.
They are not very successful as a dried product. The texture is leathery when reconstituted and as powder it is far less exciting than many other mushroom powders.
Maitake (Grifola frondosa) is one of the most versatile species. It responds well to the various ways of cooking mushrooms: sauteing, frying, drying, and even micro waving. It has a distinctive flavor that neither overpowers nor is overpowered. It has health and medicinal properties as well. It is truly excellent.
King boletes (Boletus edulis) are excellent sautéed or fried but are truly great dried and reconstituted. When powdered, they impart strong flavor. The powder is great for soup, gravy, meat loaf, pasta sauce etc. Don’t use too much!
Let’s assume you’ve already done the primers of selecting your mushrooms and cleaning them.
You should already have an idea of the kind of dish you want to end up with on your table after cooking mushrooms but that said, here are just a few tips for you.
Cooking Mushrooms(edible fungi)
It is best to saute mushrooms first, then add them only toward the end if they are going to be added to a stew or braise; since mushrooms shrink as they cook, a long stewing process might leave you with little tiny bits.
Also try not to crowd the pan when cooking mushrooms, as this lowers the heat too much and makes it more difficult to brown them nicely.
Some fun ways to cook your mushrooms
If you’ve been looking to add some variety to your cooking,you can try out any of these favorite ways to cook with mushrooms; but remember your creativity will be a plus no matter which method you use!
- Duxelles: a fine mince of button mushrooms cooked down to an intense, rich concentrated flavor, with shallots, butter, and sometimes heavy cream.
- Can be used to flavor sauces, as a bed for steamed fish, added to an omelet, or any other dish that would gain from spoonfuls of mushroom flavor.
- Soups : from classic and hearty mushroom barley, to a piquant Italian mushroom tomato, to an elegant cream of mushroom soup.
- Marinated with garlic, lemon juice and olive oil and served at room temperature as part of an antipasto.
- Pastas : a simple sauté of mixed mushrooms and garlic tossed with favorite pasta or layered with béchamel sauce and pasta sheets for meatless lasagna.
- Stuffed mushrooms as a hors d’oeuvre or alongside salad greens as a first course.
- Veal marsala: a classic combination of veal scaloppini, mushrooms, Marsala wine, and veal demiglace.
- Risotto : started with dried porcini and their broth, and finished with sliced and sautéed shiitake mushrooms.
- Mushroom bread pudding as a savory side to a roast chicken.
- Raw in salads : or example, with shaved fennel and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, or paper thin slices of baby zucchini, or with fresh cherry tomatoes in a couscous or farro salad.
- In a sauce to accompany veal or chicken cutlets, with prunes to go with a pork roast, or in burritos with black beans.
- Cooked with a little olive oil, lemon juice and fresh parsley as a crostini topping on grilled bread.
- As the filling for a savory mushroom strudel.