Gourmet mushrooms have long been favorites of chefs, but are now slowly finding their way to the kitchens and tables of food lovers too.
With increasing number of people choosing to be vegetarian and looking for organic options, mushrooms are becoming a popular choice. Like tofu, mushroom takes on the taste of the ingredients they are cooked in, but add an earthy flavor to them.
The most commonly available and popular mushroom variety is the button or white mushroom.
These are available at most stores either canned or in boxes. Besides the common button mushrooms there are many other types of mushrooms available to cook with.
Many of them are very rare in nature and are now grown commercially to meet the demands of the food connoisseurs.
Mushrooms can be added to most recipes and there are plenty of dishes that have mushrooms as their main ingredients.
Mushrooms make great soups, sauces, stews, pasta accompaniment, stir fry dishes, toppings on pizza and are also used raw in salads. Mushrooms can be used fresh or in their dried form.
Certain varieties like truffle, shiitake, oyster, portabella, chanterelle and enoki are considered delicacies and can be exorbitantly expensive.
Some other widely used mushrooms are abalone cap mushroom, black trumpet, bear’s head mushroom – use only when white, or else they turn sour), black trumpet or chanterelle – very flavorful, and blue leg mushroom (mildly flavored beauties).
Cauliflower mushrooms are chewy but flavorful and white chanterelle, chestnut mushroom and chicken of the woods mushroom but also cinnamon cap mushrooms have earthy flavors and firm texture.
Clamshell mushrooms are great with sea food or meat and cloud ear mushrooms are usually used dry by reconstituting them.
Lobster mushrooms – white mushrooms coated with red fungus compete with morels are considered precious as they can be stuffed easily but which are more flavorful when dried.
Pom pom mushrooms, flavored like crabs and lobsters, and portobello mushroom, as big as a hamburger patty are favorites of gourmet kitchens.