A Guide to Cooking Mushrooms

Mushrooms are challenging to eat for many – mostly because they are, well, rather slimy if not well prepared. On the other hand, mushrooms cooked well can be a revelation. They are intensely flavored, and almost meaty in their texture.

Here are some options to explore this fall when cooking mushrooms:

Steam Frying: Use with any type of mushroom and be sure to cut or tear the mushroom into large pieces. This method of drawing out the natural water in mushrooms, concentrating it, browning in small amount of fat creates a deeply flavored mushroom without compromising texture.

  1. Heat a large pan over medium heat.
  2. Add the prepared mushrooms all at once – it’s ok to crowd the pan.
  3. Add a good pinch of salt and toss the mushrooms well. Allow the water to seep out of the mushrooms and allow it to cook – be patient and don’t stir the mushrooms. Continue to cook until most of the mushroom liquid has evaporated.
  4. Add extra virgin olive oil and allow mushrooms to slowly brown.
  5. Add seasoning and aromatics – garlic, chopped shallots, herbs.

Grilling: Suitable for shiitake, portobello, porcini (cep), king oyster or any thick stalk variety (perfect for placing on skewers). Grilled mushrooms should be marinated first in oil and seasoning, which helps draw out some liquid and replace it with the flavors in your marinade.

  1. Marinate in oil, herbs, salt and pepper for at least one hour.
  2. Heat grill until it is hot.
  3. Remove mushrooms, shake off excess marinade and cook over high heat for 5-8 minutes per side – depending on size.

Roasting: Use with most any mushroom variety. Properly roasted mushrooms are intensely flavored and perfect in pasta dishes or in a fall salad.

  1. Preheat oven to 190°C (375°F)
  2. Portion mushrooms into large pieces and coat with extra virgin olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Transfer to a baking dish and spread into a single layer. Top with herbs.
  4. Roast 20 minutes, remove from oven and drain all liquid from mushrooms (reserve the liquid).
  5. Return to oven and cook another 30 minutes.

Mushroom Powders: Mushroom powders are simple to make from dried mushrooms – Porcini and Shiitake work the best. Use powders as a seasoning to give any dish an umami punch.

  1. Grind in coffee grinder.
  2. Strain and re-grind any larger pieces.
  3. Keep in air-tight jar for 3-6 months.



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