From a Japanese salad to a multi-shroom scramble, Here & Now resident chef Kathy Gunst has three mushroom-based recipes to share with host Peter O’Dowd.
There are an abundance of different mushrooms out there — some that are poisonous, some that are edible. We thought we would share with you those of the delicious variety:
How to clean them
For years I heard you should never wash mushrooms, because they are too porous and will soak up all the water. Turns out, that’s not really true. You can gently rinse mushrooms with cold running water. Do not soak them or douse them heavily, though. After a quick rinse, lightly dab with clean tea towel, and when cleaning mushrooms with lots of nooks and crannies, like morels, use a paper towel to clean off dirt from the caps and stems, or use a vegetable brush.
Buying dried mushrooms
Morels, porcinis and other harder to find fresh mushrooms can be bought in dried form. Soak the mushrooms in hot, not boiling, water for about 15 minutes, drain, dry and use as if they are fresh. But don’t throw out the water you soaked your mushrooms in, because it’s loaded with flavor and can be strained and used in sauces, pasta dishes, risotto, paella, etc.
Mushrooms can be dangerous. If you forage for them, go with an expert or a mycology organization. Never assume you know enough about mushrooms to simply pick and eat.
A nod to spring, this salad can be served hot from the oven or at room temperature. Asparagus are roasted in one pan, and a variety of mushrooms are tossed with fresh ginger, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar and scallions, then roasted as well. The mushrooms are placed on top of the asparagus, along with the gingery juices from the bottom of the pan. Serve on its own with warm crusty bread or on top of greens — like arugula — polenta, rice or pasta.
This recipe sounds like a Dr. Seuss title. You can use two, three, four or five varieties of mushrooms in this super simple scramble. In the spring, look for morels, Hen of the Woods or spring porcinis. You can also use more readily available mushrooms like shiitakes, portobellos, oyster mushrooms or creminis. This is an ideal recipe for breakfast, lunch or dinner, and it can be served with crusty bread or buttered toast.
This is the simplest recipe but one that offers incredible flavors and textures. Serve this dish hot and right from the oven, as a mushroom sampler. It’s also delicious served on toasted, crusty bread, on top of pasta, rice, in risotto or spooned on top of grilled fish, meat or poultry. A poached egg on top wouldn’t be bad, either. Use as many mushroom varieties as you can get your hands on. If you only use two varieties it will still be impressive, but in this case, the more the merrier.
Other possible variations: Add about 1/4 to 1/3 cup heavy cream to the mushrooms during the last 5 minutes of roasting for a creamy mushroom dish. Or add a splash of white or red wine half way throughout roasting. Or just keep it simple. It’s all about the mushrooms.
Serves 4 to 6.
This article was originally published on WBUR.org.
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