24th January 2020
24th January 2020
Everything you need to know about the different types of mushrooms and cooking with them.
Mushrooms are part of the Fungi family. However, not all fungi are mushrooms. Mushrooms have caps and steps. They can grow above or below the ground. There are more than 10,000 different kinds of mushrooms. Here is our guide to mushrooms for delicious dishes in your kitchen.
White Button. These are the most common types of mushrooms for cooking. They are also called Table mushrooms and they care called champignon in France (yes, a very beautiful sounding name). White button mushrooms have a mild flavor. They can be cooked or eaten raw. You can eat the entire mushroom including the cap and stem. They may look simple, but they are delicious in pizzas, salads, gravies and stir-fries and in pasta with red and white sauce. They taste great when you season them well as their flavor is very mild. Herbs like thyme, oregano and basil are wonderful with these mushrooms.
Cremini. These mushrooms are light brown in color and look like button mushrooms. They have different names – brown mushrooms, classic brown, Roman, golden Italian and baby bellas. These are in fact baby Portobellos. A single mushroom is called cremino. These mushrooms have a ton of flavor typically an earthy one. They cost a little more than white mushrooms but they are worth it. You can use the entire mushroom including the stem and the cap. They taste delicious when sautéed until light brown with olive oil, some garlic and parsley and salt. They are wonderful in mushroom mac and cheese dishes.
Portobello. These mushrooms are the most recognizable mushrooms for vegans and vegetarians alike. These are the mushrooms at the most mature stage of the white button mushroom. The have many names including field mushrooms, Portabella, and open-cap. These mushrooms are large in size, meaty and taste like meat. They are often used as substitutes in burgers and sandwiches for meat. When you slice them, they taste like steak. They are wonderful in grilling and strong marinades because of their large-sized caps. The gills and stem can be eaten but they are removed sometimes for filling, to make them look more attractive and to avoid making a dish black. Portobellos are great for burgers, sandwiches and vegan cheesesteaks!
Porcini. These mushrooms are one of the most popular mushrooms varieties out there. They have different names including boletes, Polish mushrooms and Cepes. A single Porcini mushroom is called a Pocino. They have a creamy texture, have a woodsy flavor, are aromatic and reddish-brown in color. Typically, they are found in a dried form. If you soak them in hot water, for a minute or two, they will regain their original form. The great thing about them is, a little bit goes a long way. They are a delicious addition to risottos, soups, pasta sauces and other vegetarian gravies.
Shitake. You can see these lovely mushrooms grow all over Japan. The name in Japanese means “oak fungus.” They have different names including brown oak, black forest, Chinese black and black mushrooms. Their caps are brownish-black in color and they tend to curl a bit. They have a smoky flavor with a woodsy smell. Their taste is very intense and a little goes a long way. Dried shitakes are very intense. The stems cannot be eaten because they are very hard but can be used to flavor sauces and soups. Recipes that benefit from the Shitake mushrooms are tacos, stir-fries and pilafs.
Oyster. These are beautiful white, fan-shaped mushrooms that look like oysters. They have different names including angel’s wings, tree oyster, shimeji, abalone mushrooms and pleurotte en huître. They are very delicate to touch and are lacy to grasp. They have a small stem that barely holds them together. They have a mild flavor. While cooking they tend to become tender and are delicious sautéed with a little bit of olive oil, butter, garlic and parsley.
Chanterelle. These cute little mushrooms look like little trumpets. They have different names including egg mushrooms, girolles, and golden chanterelle. These mushrooms have a lot of body to them and have a peppery apricot smell. European dishes are famous for using these mushrooms. Chanterelle mushrooms last long and a delicious sautéed with olive oil, garlic, and herbs.
Enoki. These mushrooms are common in Asian cooking. They have little caps, long thin stems and are crunchy to taste. These are also called golden needle mushrooms because of their look. Stems can be eaten after trimming them a little. These are best eaten fresh but can be found in a canned form in grocery stores. These are wonderful in stir-fries and pizzas.
Mushrooms can be bought fresh or packaged. It is better to buy them from the farmer’s market when you can see their quality. Try to choose mushrooms that are firm with a fresh, smooth appearance. They should not be moist nor should they be dried out. Avoid any mushrooms that are moldy.
Mushrooms must be stored in a paper bag in a cool, dark place or in the refrigerator for up to a week. They need to be kept in a dry place. They can be frozen, but only after cooked. Use a damp towel or paper towel to clean the mushrooms. Avoid placing them underwater directly as they will become soggy.