Looking for new ways to impress holiday guests? Mushrooms are a plentiful source of umami — the celebrated fifth taste beyond sweet, salty, bitter and sour. Their rich, savory flavor actually elevates other ingredients and evokes feelings of satisfaction — which means lucky guests will leave the table raving about your marvelous meal.
If you’ve never cooked with mushrooms — or if your experience is limited to the common button mushroom — fear not! I’ve assembled a few quick tips for culinary adventures beyond the button.
3-Step Mushroom Prep
Refrigerate in a paper bag or container that allows cool air to circulate.
Clean with a damp cloth or rinse briefly and dry with a towel.
Use a paring knife to trim stems as needed.
Tip: Mushrooms absorb water easily and should never be soaked.
Mushrooms 3 Simple Ways
Don’t have the time or inclination to cook? White button and cremini mushrooms are delicious raw. Add to fresh salads, use as garnish for soups or chop and toss with fresh herbs and citrus to make Raw Citrus-Herb Mushroom Relish.
Got fifteen minutes and a stovetop? Heat butter or olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add a single layer of sliced mushrooms with a handful of herbs and aromatics, such as oregano, marjoram and minced garlic. Stir constantly until mushrooms are soft and moisture has evaporated. Serve over toast or add to recipes such as Creamy Mushroom-Leek Spread or Mushroom Stuffing with Shallots and Fresh Herbs.
If you have 30 minutes of cooking time, consider roasting your mushrooms to concentrate their flavor. Recipes such as Quinoa with Balsamic Roasted Mushrooms and Smoky Mushroom Gratin will add hearty vegetarian sides to your holiday repertoire. (Speaking of meatless recipes, Vegan Mushroom Gravy is a great one to have up your sleeve!)
More Tips for Mushroom Adventures
Pump up the “wow” factor without inflating your budget. Combine intensely flavorful wild mushrooms with mellow, mixable button mushrooms.
When combining different varieties, chop or slice the mushrooms to roughly the same size to insure that they cook evenly.
Store sautéed mushrooms in the freezer for up to one month. Keep some on hand to add to soups, gravies, sauces and pot pies.
Do you have a favorite mushroom dish for the holidays? Share your tips in the comments below!