Fungi have been mystified throughout time in ancient myths and legends with their variety of obscure shapes and enigmatic biology—ranging from magical to poisonous. For too long, many of us have stayed in our comfort-zone and stuck to the well-known button mushroom as a safe go-to for that hearty umami flavor and meaty texture.
5 Mushrooms You Need to Welcome into Your Kitchen
There is more than one champi(gn)on
But as supermarkets are vastly expanding their assortment, the button mushroom has been joined by a variety of new exciting family members waiting to be explored. It’s time to widen the horizon and conquer unknown territory. Let’s take a trip to fungi-town!
This Japanese mushroom definitely stands out with its long white stems and petit caps. Already widely popular in Asian cuisine, the Enoki is starting to make its way to the West and can be found in almost every Asian supermarket. Its mild and light fruity flavor makes it work particularly well with aromatic Asian condiments in soups and stir fry.
Another Asian classic not to miss! Playing an important role in traditional Chinese medicine, the shiitake is believed to hold many health benefits, and has claimed status as an immune boosting super-food. Dark in color, rich in umami flavor, and with an almost buttery taste to it, the shiitake is a perfect meat-alternative for vegetarian stews, stir fry, and soups. Though mostly available in dehydrated form in Western supermarkets, shiitake can easily be revived with a 30 min. soak prior to cooking, making it an easy-to-store pantry ingredient for deep umami flavor.
A popular ingredient in Italian cuisine, especially used in creamy dishes to add depth and texture with its nutty flavor and meaty and firm caps and stems. Having a stronger texture and flavor, the porcini is also one of the go-to mushrooms for hearty stews as it can sustain a longer cooking process, contrary to the more delicate varieties.
Are you washing your mushrooms? Step away from the sink and take a look at our video How to clean mushrooms.
Named for its oyster-fluted cap, with a luxurious velvety texture and a sophisticated earthy- and mild umami flavor, the oyster mushroom is the crème de la crème—the fancy fungi, so to say. The oyster mushroom lives out its full potential when prepared simply: fried with butter and fresh herbs until crisp and served as a delicate topping that adds an elegant touch to any dish.
This golden-colored mushroom has a fruity apricot aroma and a perfectly balanced creamy and peppery taste, making it a sought-after ingredient for many chefs. As chanterelles are growing wild in large parts of the world, but not cultivated, it has become the shining treasure for most mushroom bounty hunters—and once they uncover a spot, they’re likely to take it to the grave. Naturally, this earthy delight comes with a heavy price tag, but can often be purchased cheaper dehydrated—or you could put on your rubber boots and join the hunt in the crisp fall forest floor.
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Published on October 29, 2017