Tips for Choosing and Cooking Mushrooms
There are different 250 species of North American mushrooms thought edible; only around half of these have decent enough flavor that anybody cooks with them. Among these edible mushrooms, you can expect not just variations in flavor, but variations in texture and moisture content. Therefore, not all mushrooms should be cooked the same way.
Types of Mushrooms
Among the more popular type of edible mushrooms are:
How to Cook Chanterelle Mushrooms?
Aka : Cantharellus cibarius
A good mushroom for sautéing, chanterelles have a fruity scent. Dried varieties are nice for seasoning.
How to Cook Oyster Mushroom?
Aka : Pleurotus ostreatus or P. populinus.
A bit chewy, but still good for sautéing. To retain their mild flavor, oysters are best used within a few hours of picking.
How to Cook Maitake Mushrooms?
Aka : Grifola frondosa.
With their meaty flesh and nutty flavor, Maitake mushrooms are terrific for sautéing, roasting, grilling, microwaving, or using dried.
How to Cook King boletes Mushrooms?
Aka : Boletus edulis.
Perfect for sautéing or microwaving – but use sparingly dried, as the flavor is intense.
How to Cook Crimini Mushrooms?
Aka : Baby Bella, Roman, Italian, Brown or Classic Brown; Agaricus bisporus.
Look for Crimini that are light tan to rich brown in color and are quite firm. These are meaty mushrooms, ideal for sautéing, grilling, broiling, roasting or microwaving.
How to Cook Enoki Mushrooms?
Aka : Enokitake, Enoki-daki; Flammulina veluptipes.
Mild and slightly sweet tasting, enoki are best used raw.
How to Cook Morel Mushrooms?
Aka : Morchella connica.
Among the most expensive mushrooms available. Fortunately, their earthy, nutty flavor is intense, and therefore large quantities are not necessary. For best results, sauté.
How to Cook Portobello Mushrooms?
Aka : Agaricus bisporus, Agaricus hortensis.
With their meaty, strong flavor, Portobellos are great sautéed, grilled, broiled, or roasted.
How to Cook Shiitake Mushrooms?
Aka : Golden oak mushroom, forest mushroom, black forest, oriental black, Chinese black; Lentinula edodes.
Rich and woody-scented, Shiitakes should be sautéed, roasted, grilled, or broiled.
How to Cook White Mushrooms?
Aka : Agaricus spp.
The most common type of mushroom, easily found in grocery stores. The flavor is mild but gets stronger when sautéed.
How to Store and Prepare Mushrooms
If you won’t be using the mushrooms the day you buy them, store them in a paper bag, loosely closed.
Just before cooking, clean the mushrooms. Although common wisdom says mushrooms should never be washed, many mushroom experts disagree. Wild mushrooms are covered in snail goo and bug and animal waste; always wash them to help remove bacteria. (For safety, they should also be thoroughly cooked.)
Farmed mushrooms are either sprayed with pesticides and chemical fertilizers or grown in organic fertilizer (read: animal dung); either way, you should wash them.
Nonetheless, don’t soak them in water, since they can greatly alter their flavor. Instead, gently rub them with a damp terry towel.
How to Cook Mushrooms
It’s always a great idea to start with a trusted recipe. However, here are some general guidelines to follow when cooking mushrooms:
When in doubt, saute, as this method is least likely to ruin the flavor of the mushroom. Put a little canola oil in a pan (olive oil has too strong a flavor for some mushrooms), preheat it, then place sliced mushrooms in the pan.
Stir constantly and cook until the mushrooms are golden and any mushroom juice is mostly reduced. For extra flavor, add butter to the pan when the mushrooms are nearly done.
Flavorful mushrooms can usually be roasted. Place them in a baking pan that’s been sprayed with cooking oil. Put in a preheated 450ºF oven and cook for about 20 minutes, or until lightly browned, stirring occasionally.
Grilled or Broiled Mushrooms
Lightly spray with cooking oil and broil or grill about 4 to 5 inches from the heat source. Cook for about 4 minutes on each side, brushing with oil as necessary.
How to Microwave Mushroom
Believe it or not, many mushroom experts suggest cooking meaty mushrooms via microwave. Slice the mushroom rather thickly and put it in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring once.
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Choosing and Cooking Mushrooms