Mushrooms are extraordinary ingredients for cooking, not only delicious and versatile, able to add flavor, color as well as texture to any dish, but also an excellent source of nutrients, including proteins, vitamins and minerals. The kingdom of edible mushrooms include an incredibly wide range of species, some growing in the wild, others cultivated on farms, but all of them spectacular and each of them unique. Here are some delicious varieties that you can add to your recipes and some cooking tips to make the most of them.
Bay Bolete Mushrooms
The mild-flavored, brown-capped mushroom variety offers extraordinary nutritional value. Widespread in woodland areas all over the world, Bay Bolete is best picked between August and November. Whether used fresh or in dried form, Bay Bolete mushrooms work great in risottos and omelets. With the diameter of the cap being around 13 cm and with a height of 15 cm, they are very large mushrooms, so they are excellent when stuffed or grilled as well.
Another wild member of the Boletus family and a variety that is appreciated by chefs all over the world, Porcinis are staples in Italian cooking. The reddish-brown caps of porcinis are so characteristic that they can be easily and safely recognized even by beginner mushroom pickers and the characteristic nutty flavor can be relied on to transform bland dishes into exciting, sophisticated meals. They can be made into classy side dishes to go with meat as well as into salads and pasta sauces. Porcinis are very delicate and they require very little cooking time.
A larger version of button mushrooms, Portobello mushrooms are common and easily available, but also very special. The large cap is firmer and somewhat drier that the caps of button mushrooms, but larger size also comes with more flavor – whether grilled or added into a stew, stuffed or roasted in an oven, Portobellos make wonderful companions for meat as well as spectacular stand-alone dishes.
The Asian delicacy is today available in fresh form as well as in dehydrated form. When used fresh, expect your shiitakes to add an unmistakable, smoky-meaty flavor as well as some darker coloring to the recipe. If you want to use the dried version, you can either chop the blackish, dried pieces into small parts and add them to the dish like you would add herbs or you can soak the dehydrated mushrooms in water to restore some of the elasticity lost during the rehydration and add them hole into the dish. Either way, shiitakes work best in combination with cream and garlic or as accents in dishes that feature some other ingredient as their centerpiece.
Literally meaning “side ear”, pleurotus is a genus that includes many species, all of them attaching themselves to the substrate laterally, like ears. Found all over the world, in hot as well as in moderate climates, pleurotus varieties stand out with their high protein content and great taste that makes them excellent in soups and stews as well as in pasta sauces or in rice.
You can find mushroom spores for sale at Hidden Forest Mushroom.