Mushrooms are a surprisingly versatile ingredient — they make their way into our breakfast, lunch and dinner. And their culinary possibilities are seemingly endless. Not only are there numerous varieties to become acquainted with, but you can prepare them in a number of ways: Grilling, stuffing, breading, frying, roasting, braising or sautéing.
If you have been following the same recipe over and over again, then it is time to shake things up. Get out of your cooking rut and start experimenting with this earthy ingredient. Mushrooms are subtle enough to make a savory side dish for meat eaters and substantial enough to serve as an entrée for vegetarians. Read on to find out the various ways you can prepare mushrooms.
This method helps bring out the natural sweetness in mushrooms. When roasting, make sure they are well coated in oil (and whichever other seasonings you wish to add) before placing in the oven at 204 degrees Celsius. Allow them to cook through until well browned.
This way of preparing mushrooms helps them to retain their flavor and hold onto their shape. If you are in the mood to experiment, you can always puree the mushrooms and make a croquette out of them. When breading, treat this ingredient just as you would do with chicken – make sure it gets a golden-brown color on all sides.
A great and simple way to prepare mushrooms is to stir-fry them. Not only does it quickly get a meal on the table, but stir-frying also controls the amount of oil the mushrooms suck up. Any type of mushroom can work in this method, though if using larger ones (such as Portobello), it is recommended that you cut them into smaller, quicker cooking sizes.
If grilling is your option, then depending on the size of your mushrooms, you can either place them directly on the grill (such as with Portobello’s) or cook them on a skewer if smaller. To keep them nice and moist, either marinate them or lightly brush with oil before grilling.
With mushrooms, this method requires a slightly different approach than most other produce because of their high moisture content. When sautéing, you would want to be sure to start with hot oil, and then evenly coat the mushrooms once in the pan. You will notice the mushrooms' liquid being released into the pan (if not, then add salt to help the process along). You will know they are done once all the liquid has evaporated and the mushrooms have turned golden brown.
You do not need meat to enjoy the fine art of braising. Braising, the process of slowing cooking a dish with a bit of liquid at low temperature, subtly draws out flavors. And when braising mushrooms, they become hearty and comforting. Their depth of flavor increases and they make a more satisfying vegetarian meal or act as great addition to meat dishes.
Getting a nicely browned, crisp edge on your mushroom is culinary heaven. And it is not easy with mushrooms since they resist browning by releasing all that water into the pan. To achieve perfection when preparing, just be sure to add the mushrooms to a hot pan, with good amount of oil. And do not crowd the pan (this would just add too much water to it).
Unlike a lot of other produce, mushrooms are delicious cooked and raw. You can slice them thinly to add to salads or include in a sandwich. Just be sure to thoroughly clean them before eating as they tend to store dirt in their crevices.
Mushrooms almost seem like they were grown for stuffing. When you break off the stem their little caps make perfect bowls for whatever filling you can dream up. Once you have stuffed them, bake until nicely browned and the filling looks cooked through. The time and temperature will of course depend on your recipe.
Not only are mushrooms great for stuffing, they make a great stuffing themselves. Duxelles, a mixture of finely chopped mushrooms and stems, cooked along with onions, garlic and herbs, is a basic preparation used in stuffing or savory tarts.