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Behold the Mushroom

Posted on 17th Sep, 2012 by Hillary Mickell
Behold the Mushroom
The mushroom is so much more than the butt of many a bad joke.

Q: Why did the Mushroom get invited to all the parties?
A: ‘Cuz he’s a fungi!

Q: Why did the Fungi leave the party?
A: There wasn’t mushroom.

While most people are familiar with the white button mushroom, portabella and porcini, one can find more than 30 different varieties at grocery stories and farmers markets.

One of the most common questions with the mushroom is how to clean them. For a while, conventional wisdom said you had to use a paper towel or clean kitchen towel and rubbing the dirt off. Most chefs will tell you that a quick rinse does the trick – you’ll still need to handle each mushroom individually, but as long as you don’t leave the mushrooms soaking in water, they should be just fine.

What about storing mushrooms? The Kitchn has great tips on mushroom storage you can find here.

Here is a short and handy guide to mushrooms:

White Button Mushroom
The ubiquitous mushroom is the most inexpensive and most versatile.

> Try these Burgundy Mushrooms by The Pioneer Woman

Chanterelle
These tasty funghi range in color from bright yellow to orange. They add a great nutty flavor to dishes – add them late in the cooking process to avoid toughening. While they are quite expensive when purchased fresh, dried are a great option.

> Try these Chanterelle Toasts by The Year in Food.

Crimini
These dark cap mushrooms, are the young portobello’s. They are a great substitution for the standard white button mushroom and are readily available in most grocery stores.

> Try this Chicken Cacciatore with Cremini Mushrooms by Whole living.

Shiitake
In Japanese, Shiitake means “oak fungus” – where you’d find these in the wild. Highly versatile, you can use these in just about any recipe and with any cooking technique.

> Try this Shiitake and Greens Quesadilla by One Hungry Mama.

Oyster
One of the tastiest mushrooms when eaten raw, you’ll generally find these in salad recipes. Commonly found in Japanese and Chinese dishes.

> Try these Sautéed Diver Sea Scallops With Oyster Mushrooms And Sweet Curried Carrot Sauce by Self Magazine

Enoki
Easily recognizable by their tiny white caps joined at the base. When preparing, discard the base and if cooking them, add at the last possible moment.

> Try this classic Sukiyaki by No Recipes.

Portobello
The largest of the mushroom family, these are a common “meat” substitution for vegetarians looking for a steak-like vegetable. They are fantastic grilled, sliced, stir fried and baked.

> Try these Portobellos with Leeks and Spinach by Martha Stewart.

Porcini
Like the chanterelle, this expensive mushroom can also be purchased dried. They are very flexible and can be prepared just about any way but are commonly found in French and Italian dishes.

> Try this Zuppa Di Porcini with Mascarpone Crostini by Mario Batali.

Photo by Mohini Patel Glanz

Food, we love you.

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