Mushrooms are types of fungi that consist of a stem and a cap, of formations that attach directly to a surface, without a stem or of fruiting bodies that grow completely under the surface of the soil. The kingdom of mushrooms is widespread all over the world and includes edible as well as poisonous varieties, with the category of edible mushrooms being further devisable into common and rare, very special, gourmet varieties. Here are some varieties belonging to either category – mushrooms that are common or rare, but all highly appreciated in gourmet cooking for the flavors, textures and colors they add to the dish they are used in.
These large, brown-capped mushrooms are quite common and widespread, but they are much appreciated by even the most sophisticated chefs for their versatility and flavor. Very common in Italian cuisine, Portobello mushrooms make sauces darker and deeper, being just perfect for pasta dishes as well as for meat. Being large mushrooms, Portabellas are an excellent choice for grilled and stuffed recipes as well. Being an excellent source of proteins, Portobello mushrooms are a popular ingredient in vegetarian and vegan diets.
Another mushroom variety that is common, but at the same time very special, shiitake mushrooms can be used in fresh form as well as in dried form, the choice depending on the type of the dish as well as on the intensity of the flavor to be achieved. When used fresh, shiitake mushrooms can be made into delightful side dishes or added to salads and pasta; when used in dried form, they are usually added after being soaked into water or cut into very small pieces, in a way similar to the way we use herbs and spices.
Consisting of a body that grows entirely underground, truffles are currently the most expensive mushroom varieties. Truffles have a characteristic, very strong flavor, a special, rich and earthy aroma that explains why they are mostly used as a spice in very elegant dishes.
These beautiful mushrooms look like tiny, yellow or golden trumpets. They are difficult to cultivate, therefore they are usually gathered from forests. They are the most common in European and Australian cuisines, but are also very popular in the Pacific Northwest.
Chanterelles add a kind of flavorful, textured elegance to any dish. Chefs often choose to add them to their risottos and they are often used in cream sauces to accompany red meat dishes, especially steaks. In grilled form, they go very well with seafood.
These cute-looking mushrooms grow in large clusters of tiny, capped stems and they are appreciated and popular for their crunchiness and for their sweet, slightly nutty flavor. They are very versatile, too, great for adding texture and aroma to stir fries, salads or sauces. They are especially great grilled – the direct contact with the smoke and the heat brings out all the sweetness and nuttiness and also packs some smokiness.
A staple in Japanese and Chinese cuisine, oyster mushrooms are white and fan shaped and they grow in clusters. Their delicate flavor and mild odor blend very well and harmoniously into any dish.
For information about purchasing a mushroom spore kit, consult with Hidden Forest Mushroom Spores representatives.