Mushrooms are a quirky food, neither vegetable nor meat. They’re the fruit of fungus plants, they come in many shapes and sizes, and they’re delicious in all kinds of cooking. What makes them particularly delicious? They’re rich in the naturally occurring compounds that make up umami. Most mushrooms are made up largely of water; they shrink as they cook, thereby condensing into compact little morsels of series flavor.
Read on to feast on four types of mushrooms that we adore and see the recipes we love to make with them!
**Your Guide to Mushrooms**
King trumpet mushrooms, also known as king oyster mushrooms, are the largest in the grouping of oyster mushrooms. When raw, they’re extremely mild, but their rich, earthy flavor becomes apparent when they’re browned to a crisp, like in our recipe for tomato-mushroom toasts, thick slices of golden toast with herbed mayo and juicy tomatoes, a truly one-of-a-kind meal. If you’re a vegetarian, you’ll find these hearty ‘shrooms to be a great
The shiitake hails from the continent of Asia, and you’ll find the mushrooms in both fresh and dried form. Like many mushrooms, they have a meaty taste, but unlike their fellow fungi, they have a chewy texture, born of having a lower water content than most. That makes them excellent for adding a bit of texture to dishes like this Artichoke-Shiitake Risotto.
Portobello mushrooms are the fungi that most often stand in for meat when we’re looking for a hearty, satisfying, meat-free substitution. They fare extremely well in a hot pan or on the grill, which is why we like to use them in place of ground meat in the delicious portobello sliders pictured above.
Also known as “hen of the woods”, these flowery ‘shrooms are more exotic than the three above. We love how they crisp up on the outside when seared in a hot pan, and we pair them with both artichokes (on the vegetarian side) and turkey (for Thanksgiving). The word “maitake” means “dancing mushrooms” in Japanese, apparently because foragers used to be so happy to find a maitake that they’d dance for joy!