Edible fungi are fantastic. Consider, for example, how a well-made mushroom sauce elevates the humble chicken schnitzel.
Mushrooms are earthy and highly versatile, and humans have been eating them for thousands of years. It's easy for a layperson to confuse a delicious and safe mushroom with a poisonous one, so Roman emperors and royals had food tasters who would sample meals and questionable ingredients, including mushrooms, before they dug in. The shrooms were, apparently, worth the risk of losing a trusted underling. This tasty ingredient is excellent cooked simply in butter or zhuzhed up with salt, acid, and heat.
Let's start with a classic—chicken and mushroom pie. Anyone with a case of the munchies will tell you how enjoyable a corner bakery or gas station chicken and mushroom pie can be. But this winning combo is easy to whip up at home, too, and tastes even better than the store-bought version.
You'll be all set with one or more types of mushrooms — pretty much any variety will do — chicken fillet or thighs, onion or leeks, thyme, sage, or rosemary, red wine vinegar, and some puff pastry.
There are more vegans and vegetarians than ever before. And whether they're former carnivores or not, all these folks are looking for satisfying meat alternatives. Cue the mushroom.
You can get intense and make mushroom jerky. But when you really want steak or a burger, whip up a grilled portobello mushroom with a steak rub, balsamic vinegar, and barbeque sauce, or turn the big cap into a juicy patty. You can make roasted larb or pulled mushroom fillings for burritos. Mushrooms are a hero ingredient in plant-based diets for good reason—the options are endless and the taste is often described as meaty.
Omelets are a highlight of hotel breakfast buffets the world over, and they're so much cozier and more comforting with a handful of chopped and sautéed button mushrooms nestled in the middle. Sprinkle some cheese in, add chives or your favorite herb, and you'll be able to start your morning splendidly.
Whole white or chanterelle mushrooms make an ideal starter or side. Wipe your mushrooms with a damp cloth and cook them caps down in a single layer. Resist the urge to fuss and let the heat and olive oil do their thing. The mushrooms will caramelize approximately two minutes later.
Then toss for five minutes and add the ultimate mushroom flavor complements—butter, minced garlic, lemon juice, dried herbs, and white wine or an alcohol-free substitute. You'll want to mop up the glaze because it's chef's kiss material.
Few things are better than creamy, dreamy mushroom pasta. With some Parmesan cheese and crème fraîche, you can put together a delicious lunch or supper, and your tummy or family will request seconds.
Don't forget the golden rule: always season and taste before you plate up your food to ensure your flavors are on point.
Enoki mushrooms are mild, crunchy, and fabulous in raw Asian-style salads. You can create a compelling appetizer by blanching your mushrooms and adding a vinegar-based or soy dressing with sesame oil and a pinch of sugar.
Toss in ingredients such as spring onions, fresh ginger and garlic, and julienned veggies like cucumbers, carrots, and bell peppers. The result is fresh, tasty, and super nutritious.
Asian cuisines abound with wholesome soups and flavorsome stir-fries that delight the palate. You'll often see shiitake, shimeji, and oyster mushrooms in broth-laden bowls and sizzling woks.
Dried mushrooms from Asian grocery stores keep well, and you can rehydrate them when you need a texture boost. It all makes for an umami utopia.
Some mushrooms, such as Chaga, are considered medicinal—they are full of antioxidants that are good for your body. These shrooms come powdered so you can use to them brew tea and coffee substitutes.
Cordyceps mushrooms may help with energy and Reishi mushrooms can aid with stress and sleep issues. Drizzle in honey or coconut blossom nectar, and you'll have a warm, woodsy mug of goodness.
On the whole, mushrooms are pretty interchangeable, but porcini and morel mushrooms work particularly well in risotto. Mushrooms add an excellent nuttiness to Italian dishes. Arborio rice cooked with chicken or veggie broth, shallots, olive oil, herbs, and cheese creates a melt-in-the-mouth symphony you'll crave.
It's not the quickest recipe out there, but it's worth the effort and time.
Last but most certainly not least, you have the inimitable truffle. French black truffles are a delicacy for their pungent aroma, unique savory flavor, and scarcity. They take simple dishes to the next level.
You can use truffle shavings over scrambled eggs, under chicken skin that's about to be roasted, or in pasta and soups. Truffles are best eaten uncooked, and you can sprinkle truffle oil over popcorn, mashed potatoes, and pizzas.