What to do with Mushrooms
Nobody is ever half hearted about Mushrooms
Mushrooms have played a pretty important in human history. Claudius, the Emperor of Rome, was poisoned by mushrooms, as was Pope Clement VII. The Normans praised their aphrodisiac qualities, the ancient Egyptians decreed them to be food for royalty alone and a 5,000 year old corpse had some versatile polypores in his backpack.
These days truffles, porcini, morels, crimini, ceps, portabella, black Chinese, yellow chantarelles, cinammon caps, hon-shimeji and their cousins are no longer seen as either the food of gods or of devils.
A mushroom is a healthy wholesome and altogether delicious treat.
There's a lot of food value in a mushroom
Nutritional Value of Mushrooms
Depending on the variety, mushrooms contain 1 to 3% protein and all the essential amino acids, making the protein complete. You wouldn't think so to look at them but, for vegetarians, mushrooms make an ideal meat substitute. A tasty substitute too.
Mushrooms also have many of the B vitamins, and the vitamins C, K, and E.
I could go on more .. mushrooms are a rich source of potassium and phosphorous. About 5 raw button mushrooms contain 370 mg. of potassium and 104 mg. phosphorous.
Take the portabellas for example. Portabella Mushrooms are an ideal food for those watching their waistlines. They contain no fat or sodium, are high in fibre, and low in calories (40 calories for a medium size).
Always be careful when you harvest wild food
Many people prefer wild mushrooms, I do too. They really taste so much better as the flavour is so much stronger.
Be careful when picking wild mushrooms, or any wild food. Some species of mushrooms are poisonous.
Remember to always cook wild mushrooms thoroughly, no half measures here, you not only want to release the flavors but to convert the proteins into a more usable form
* Keep mushrooms refrigerated
* Remove the plastic from packaged mushrooms
* Keep fresh mushrooms in a porous paper bag
* Avoid air-tight containers which cause moisture condensation and spoilage
* Don't rinse until ready to use
Substitute Portabello Mushrooms for Meat
Prep Time: Marinate for 10 hours, then prep for 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
- 4 large portobello or large field mushrooms
- 30 m l/2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 clove garlic crushed
- salt and ground black pepper
- 4 crusty ciabatta rolls or hamburger rolls
- crisp lettuce
- sliced tomatoes
- Place the mushrooms in a shallow dish, add the oil, garlic and seasoning and toss until the mushrooms are evenly coated. Leave to marinate for at least 10 minutes.
- Cook the mushrooms on the barbecue, or in a flat frying pan for 8-10 minutes turning once until browned on both sides and tender when tested with a fork. Transfer to a plate, gill side down and leave for a couple of minutes.
- Toast the ciabatta rolls on the barbecue, or pop into a toaster. Fill with lettuce, tomato and top with the mushrooms.
- Delicious served with hummous!
Million Dollar Portobello Mushroom Burger
Risotto Portabella Recipe
- 1 large garlic clove minced
- 2 cups Arborio rice
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 200 -250g
- 8 oz Portabella mushrooms
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 - 4 cups chicken stock
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
Prep Time: 5
Total Time: 35
Serves: 2 -4
- In a medium-sized heavy saucepan, heat some oil. Add onion and garlic; saute and stir until softened, about 4 minutes.
- Add rice; continue to cook and stir coating the rice with oil. Add the wine; cook, stirring often, until the liquid is absorbed.
- Meanwhile, trim mushrooms and cut into bite-sized pieces. In another pan heat oil. Add mushrooms; cook and stir until tender, 5 to 6 minutes.
- Pour 3 cups of stock into the rice, over medium-high heat stir until almost al dente. Stir in the cooked mushrooms and add more stock if needed.
- The risotto should be creamy, not runny.
- Remove saucepan from heat. Stir in a 1/4 cup of the parmesan cheese until completely dissolved. Stir in parsley and season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Serve with remaining parmesan.
Crimini with Port
- 1/2 medium onion cut in half and thinly sliced
- 1 TBS chicken or vegetable broth
- 4 cups whole small to medium crimini
- 6 medium cloves of garlic chopped
- 1 TBS chopped fresh rosemary
- 1/4 cup Tawny or regular Port
- salt and black pepper to taste
- Remove ends of mushroom stems and wipe clean if necessary. Slice
- Heat 1 TBS broth in a stainless steel pan. Saute the onion for 5 minutes over medium heat stirring frequently.
- Add garlic, mushrooms and rosemary to onions, and continue to saute for another 5 minutes.
- Stir in port and simmer for about 4 more minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Shiitake with Feta
You can serve this up as a side dish or as a topping/sauce over fish or poultry
- 500 g 1 lb fresh sliced shiitake mushrooms
- 3 TBSchicken or vegetable broth
- 2 cloves garlic chopped
- 2 TBS extra virgin olive oil
- 2 TBS feta cheese
- salt and pepper to taste
- Chop garlic and let sit for 5 minutes to enhance its health-promoting properties.
- Remove stems from mushrooms and slice.
- Heat broth in a stainless steel pan When broth begins to steam, add mushrooms and saute covered, for 3 minutes.
- Remove cover and let mushrooms cook for 4 more minutes.
- Toss with olive oil and feta - season with salt and pepper.
To Scrub or not to Scrub a Mushroom?
You don't have to peel your mushrooms. Wash them briefly under cool water, then give them a few minutes to dry off themselves.
To remove the stems, give them a gentle little push with your thumb and they will loosen easily. Keep the stems for adding to soups, stir fries, and stuffing.
The true aficionada doesn't wash her mushrooms at all, but merely wipes them lovingly with a damp cloth.
Utzi the Ice Man's Mushrooms
They were polypores!
In the winter of 1991, hikers in the Italian Alps found a body. It turned out not to be a crime scene, but the well preserved remains of a man who died more than five thousand years ago.
He became known as Utzi, the Iceman, and we have learned a great deal about this man, including what he ate, where he lived, and what he wore.
He was well equipped with a knapsack, flint axe, arrows and a string of dried Birch Polypores (Piptoporus betulinus) and another yet unidentified mushroom. The mushrooms would have been very handy trekking across the Alps, and not just for a snack on the southern slopes.either!
The Peerless Polypores
The polypores can be used as tinder for starting fires and as medicine for treating wounds. It can be boiled into a rich tea with immuno-enhancing properties. You can chew on a dried one as you walk.
Uzi the Iceman was well equipped for traversing the wilderness, aided by the noble polypores.
The Noble Polypores
A necessary part of the ecosystem
The polypores are among the most common, widespread, and easily identifiable groups of wild mushrooms.
Almost all polypores grow on wood, such as trees, fallen logs, stumps, or semi-buried wood. Apart from being attractive and interesting mushrooms, common polypores are wood rotters, assisting in the decomposition of dead wood.
So they're important in natural ecosystems, recycling the nutrients and minerals in the wood and releasing them over a long period of time--- sometimes several hundred years from a single large tree--- and making the nutrients available for other forest organisms.
Taxonomically, the polypores are complicated, and we don't completely understand them.
Mushrooms and More MushroomsClick thumbnail to view full-size
It is easy to despise gold and silver, but exceedingly difficult to refuse a plate of mushrooms.
Epigrams of Martial
Mushrooms are tough!
Mushroom pushing through the macadam in Paris
Is it edible?
Michael Kuo loves mushrooms too. In this guide he identifies 100 species of mushroom, using full colour illustrations and some tips on where and when to find them. He also includes how to cook them in creative and delicious ways.
A Feast of Mushrooms - An Old Favourite
Besides the traditional use of mushrooms to enhance meat and vegetable dishes, these delightful edible fungi are made into pate, powdered, pureed into mushroom ketchup, baked into a flan (an Alice B. Toklas specialty), baked as a cake and used in many other dishes - from the simple to the highly sophisticated - for soups, sauces, stuffings, main courses, and all too intriguing to resist.
How about you?
Do you love mushrooms too?
© 2008 Susanna Duffy