More about Mushrooms
I’m not a huge fan of mushrooms. I don’t mind them, but they’re not my first choice off the shelves. I like it in soup, and of course the delicious (fried of course) butter garlic mushrooms that turn up as starters on most restaurant menus.
Recently though I suddenly realized that maybe it’s just that I’m very uneducated about mushrooms. For example, the ones I eat usually are button mushrooms, and I’ve heard of Shititake mushrooms. But the rest? Here are some of the common ones that are just appearing in our stores. And as I read about them, I realized that I have had them sometime or the other, mostly eating at a restaurant.
Button Mushrooms: The ubiquitous guy little one that turns up everywhere. A bulbous cap on a short stout stalk. They retain quite a bit of water and let it off when cooking, so they’re not too great for grilling or dry dishes.
Chanterelle Mushrooms : These are golden yellow in color and look like a delicate fan. They’re a bit chewy and are best used in heavy sauces and dishes with a creamy, cheesy base because they absorb the flavors of a dish easily.
Enoki Mushrooms : Enoki look like delicate underwater coral to me, and they’re ideal for delicate garnishes in salads.
Morel Mushrooms : These distinctive mushrooms appear honeycomb-like appearance in that the upper portion is composed of a network of ridges with pits between them.
Oyster Mushrooms : Named for their beautiful shape, these are tree mushrooms.
Porcini Mushrooms : These are mainly from Italy; a chestnut brown color with an earthy flavor. They’re used mostly in risottos or sautéed in butter and herbs.
Shiitake Mushrooms : These are most used in Oriental cooking and have a nice meaty texture. Not surprisingly then, they’re often used as a substitute for meat in dishes like vegetarian burgers or grills.
Shimeji Mushrooms : Slightly bitter in taste when raw, these look like a cluster of tiny button mushrooms all on the same stem. They need to be well marinated or generously seasoned or spiced before cooking to get rid of the bitter taste.
Now looking this up, I notice that mushrooms are very low in calories. A half cup contains just 10 calories, they’re virtually fat free and a valuable source of dietary fiber! And of course, they’re known to have a whole lot of health benefits too – cancer and infection fighting and immunity boosting, with good amounts of potassium, riboflavin, folate, B6 and zinc.
Hmmm. Maybe I need to get more of that on my menu.