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Culinary Mushrooms 101: A Guide to Our Current & Upcoming Offerings



Mushrooms — they just might be the most overlooked food in American households. These unique culinary delights have been enjoyed the world over for their unique flavors, textures and nutrition. If you haven’t cooked a lot with the many different mushrooms available, it can feel a bit daunting to experiment. Don’t worry! Cooking with mushrooms is easy and we’ve put together this handy guide to help make you an expert in no time.


Important Tip: Almost all mushrooms should be cooked prior to eating. Cremini and button mushrooms are one of the few exceptions.


Portobello

Agaricus bisporus


Large, thick, dark brown caps characterize this common mushroom. Portobellos have a “meaty” texture that makes them very popular as a meat substitute or accompaniment. Their deep, earthy flavor is full of umami and pairs wonderfully with soy sauce and hearty seasonings. Cooking these with some oil or butter will help the mushrooms crisp and brown. Portobellos are quite sturdy and will stand up to marinades very well. Cut off the tougher, bottom half of the portobello “stems.”



Best cooking methods:


  • Grilling (use whole caps)

  • Saute and pan fry (sliced caps)

  • Soups (sliced caps)

  • Roasted (whole or sliced)

  • Stuffed and baked (whole caps)


Cremini

Agaricus bisporus


Cremini are actually “baby” portobellos that have been harvested before the cap separates from the stipe (the “stem”) and presents the brown-black gills of a mature portobello. The texture of creminis is a bit more delicate than portobellos, and their compact size and absence of mature gills makes them a bit more suited to side dishes. Creminis take well to vinegars like balsamic. Try roasting them whole, cooling them and then marinating in a vinaigrette to serve like you would olives. If you plan to stuff your creminis, use the largest ones you can find. Cremini stems have a fine texture and can be incorporated into virtually any dish.


Best cooking methods:


  • Grilled whole on skewers/as part of a mixed kabob

  • Roasted (whole or sliced)

  • Sauteed and stir fried (sliced caps)

  • Sliced thin and added raw to salads

  • Soups (sliced caps)

  • Stuffed and baked (whole caps)


Shiitake (Mature and Baby)

Lentinula edodes

Shiitake are native to Asia where they’ve been enjoyed for hundreds of years. While their stems are generally too tough to eat, the caps are an undeniable delicacy. Use shiitake “stems” for stocks and broths since they offer a rich, earthy depth of flavor. Shiitake have a slightly sweet, woodsy taste and firm texture that is made more delicate by their thin cap size. These mushrooms have an affinity for Asian flavors and are perfect in Chinese or Japanese dishes. You can also prepare them more simply with Provençal seasonings like garlic, salt, pepper and thyme. Try drizzling with oil and roasting whole caps with maitake and oyster mushrooms for a real treat.


Best cooking methods:


  • Stir fried (sliced or whole)

  • Roasted (sliced or whole)

  • Soups

  • Battered and fried

  • Added to stuffings (sliced or cubed caps)


Oyster (Grey and Yellow)

Pleurotus ostreatus


Oyster mushrooms have a mild flavor that is slightly sweet with hints of woodsiness. Their texture is softer than many other mushrooms, and distinctly more delicate than portobellos or shiitakes. Oysters don’t form caps the way many other mushrooms do, but rather their gills simply fan out. Often oyster mushrooms won’t have a pronounced stipe (“stem”) either, but if they do it’s completely edible. Avoid overcooking oyster mushrooms unless they’re in a soup. Once the mushroom is softened and becomes more translucent it’s completely cooked.


Best cooking methods:


  • Stir fried (sliced or whole)

  • Roasted (sliced or whole)

  • Soups

  • Added to stuffings (sliced or cubed)


King Oyster

Pleurotus eryngii

The King Oyster is a highly prized mushroom, especially in Japan where it is traditionally grilled over charcoal as a delectable street food. Their meaty “stems” need only light trimming at the bottom. Mild when raw, king oysters burst with earthy-sweet umami flavors when cooked. Some compare their texture to abalone or scallops.



Best cooking methods:


  • Grilled

  • Roasted

  • Broiled

  • Stir fried


Maitake

Grifola frondosa


Also known as “hen of the woods,” maitake mushrooms have a delicate fan like appearance where many small mushrooms grow together from a central point. The stems are completely edible, and are denser and meatier than the thin brackets on the other end. Maitake have a deeply earthy flavor that is highly versatile. This mushroom doesn’t form a cap, and has a unique texture that could be compared to pulled chicken when cooked (hence the nickname!). Avoid grilling this mushroom as it may fall apart.


Best cooking methods:


  • Roasted

  • Stir fried

  • Sautéed

  • Added to stuffings (sliced or cubed)

  • Soups



Lion’s Mane Mushrooms

Hericium erinaceus


Lion’s mane is easily one of the most exotic looking mushrooms with their fringed, pom-pom like appearance. Their delicate texture is also incredibly unique, and most closely resembles seafood like scallops or lobster, but is a bit more airy in texture than either. If you don’t eat seafood, don’t let this description stop you from enjoying this beautiful treat! Just like oyster mushrooms you’ll want to avoid overcooking to steer away from a soggy finished dish. Lion’s mane is especially good for quick high heat preparations where they’ll crisp and brown with the addition of oil or butter. This extremely delicate mushroom is not suited for the grill and will fall apart if sliced too thinly.


Best cooking methods:


  • Pan fried or sautéed

  • Deep fried

  • Roasted

  • Broiled

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