Mushrooms may seem like a simple ingredient, but they're actually more complicated to cook with. I learned this through the years of trying and failing to make successful mushroom recipes. I wanted them to.
Over time I learned that they have a different set of needs than they did other produce. You can not wash them like a cucumber or a tomato and you can not cook them the same way either.
Here you'll find everything I learned about cooking mushrooms from years of trial and error, plus tips from a couple of cooking experts.
First, let's talk about the many different kinds of mushrooms.
"From the incredible wild truffles and chanterelles of the northwest to the morels of the northern midwest, it's important to remember that there are hundreds of edible mushrooms out there, "Will Horowitz, chef and author of the forthcoming cookbook Salt Smoke Time tells SELF. He says that there are over 5 million species of fungi just about that, but that button, crimini, shiitake, oyster, portobello, and maitake mushrooms are the types that you most likely to see at the supermarket.
Because there are so many different kinds of mushrooms out there, Horowitz says there is not just one right way to cook them. "Some taste like acorns, some like olives, some beefy, and there are some that famously taste like shrimp," he explains. "Some are best pickled, others are lightly steamed, and others are grilled."
Before use, refrigerate mushrooms in a loose brown paper bag or cardboard box. Avoid plastic wrap at all costs.
"It's important to make sure mushrooms are stored well before even cooking," says Horowitz. They need to be able to breathe, otherwise they run the risk of becoming soggy or prematurely moldy. So, he recommends avoiding plastic wrap and storing them inside.
To mushrooms, simply wipe the dirt off.
Because mushrooms have David Burke, executive chef at David Burke Tavern New York City, tells SELF. Instead, he recommends using a soft paint brush to gently brush away any visible dirt.
Slicing, dicing, and quartering are the most common ways to prep mushrooms.
To determine how you should take your mushrooms you're making. If you're whipping up a salad, sliced or quartered mushrooms both work well. If you're making a soup, you'll want to dice them into small bits so you get the same amount of mushroom in every bite. If you are going to grill them, consider leaving them whole (this method works well with big, juicy portobellos). You can also grind them up to make meatballs-they have an uncanny meat-like texture.
And they do not throw away those stems!
When it comes to mushrooms with delicate stems, like crimini or button, Horowitz says that you can actually slice the stems and add them to your food the same way you would with the caps. For mushrooms with woodier stems, like shiitake, he recommends saving them to make a homemade mushroom stock .
To make them brown properly, always cook mushrooms in a fat spring at a high heat and make sure they're completely dry before you start.
Whether or not you're cooking mushrooms in the oven, on the grill, or on a stovetop, cook them in a fat-like way. "Mushrooms are 92 percent water," Burke explains, "so it's important to sear them on a high heat and evaporate all that water so you can develop texture through caramelization."
Avoid crowding them together while they cook.
If you put too many mushrooms in a pan at once, Horowitz says that they all produce the moisture they produce cause them to steam instead of brown. Whether you're roasting or sautéing,
Wait to salt mushrooms until they've started to brown.
Something I've learned over the years from a few experts have come to my own cooking: Salt draws out moisture, so if you salt mushrooms before they are brown, you may end up with more water in the pan. And any extra water can make it harder for the mushrooms to brown.
To get you started, here are a couple of extremely basic ways to cook mushrooms.
For perfect stovetop mushrooms, Horowitz suggests sautéing them sliced with a tablespoon of olive oil and chopped shallots until they're caramelized on all sides. For perfect roasted mushrooms, crank the oven temperature to 425 degrees F.
And here are some recipes that will help you experiment with them Mushroom Pasta
Make this pasta when you want to practice your mushroom sautéing skills. here .
Garlic Mushroom Kabobs
These meat-like skewers are delicious barbecue alternatives for vegetarians and vegans. here .
Spicy Tofu With Pickled Shiitake Mushrooms
This pickled mushroom recipe will definitely satisfy those with adventurous tastebuds. Get the recipe here .