Cooking Mushrooms: A Primer for Everyone
A Brief History of Cooking with Mushrooms
Mushrooms have been a part of the human diet for a very long time, and that most definitely includes cooking mushrooms. After all, when not being chased by giant carnivores or trampled by herbivores fleeing carnivores, our species was often foraging. The Ancient Egyptians believed mushrooms to be th food of the Gods, according to hieroglyphics. Pharaohs loved mushrooms so much that their subjects were forbidden from consuming them. Civilizations such as Russia, China, Greece, Mexico and Latin America even added mushrooms to their rituals. Many believed that mushrooms had magical properties such as creating superhuman strength.
As far as cultivation of mushroom, it’s believed that France was the leader. Some historians say that Louis XIV was the first mushroom grower. Mushrooms were grown in special caves near Paris as one of the first mushroom farming experiments. England soon followed in France’s footsteps, as more farmers saw the value in a crop grown so easily away from the hazards of poor weather. Today, mushrooms are cultivated in made-made structures, harvested by foragers, and used in culinary fare all over the world.
Why Mushrooms? Nutritional Benefits Are Plentiful
Cooking mushrooms may not be instinctive when you’re new to the kitchen, but you don’t have to be intimidated. Mushrooms are an amazing superfood, providing protein with few calories. They’re also flavorful and easy to work with. You may find yourself adding your favorite mushrooms to many of your favorite plates.
In food value, mushrooms are about as nutritious as a carrot, but have a high amount of protein. Vegans and vegetarians often fall in love with mushrooms due to this important nutritive value.
Mushrooms are also mighty low-calorie — if you opt for the button variety, 4-5 mushrooms have just 19.5 calories. There’s really no guilty with cooking up a half-cupful. There’s a lot to be said for creating your own mushroom dishes, and although it may be a bit intimidating when you’re cooking them at first, you’ll find that the nutritious benefits are incredibly plentiful.
Here, Dr. Clyde Wilson explores how mushrooms get their nutrition from the soil from the very start:
Prepping Mushrooms for Cooking
Cooking mushrooms is easy, but let’s start with prep. To prep mushrooms for cooking, clean them by brushing them carefully with a soft brush, or run under a light amount of sink water to force dirt and debris off. If you’re stuffing the mushrooms, save the stems for a future dish after your break them off. If the mushrooms feel tough, peel off the skin. Once you’ve prepped them, you can cook them in a number of ways.
Mushroom Cooking Methods
The easiest way to cook a mushroom is to broil it in a pan. It’s quick and tasty. Usually it’s easiest to remove the caps and chop into slices after you clean the mushrooms. Use a bit of olive oil in the tray or broiler and brown them one one side, then the other. Once you’re happy with the browning, remove from heat, and a bit of butter and pepper, an slide them onto a bun. Using the juice left in the pan, you can make a rue and create a flavorful gravy.
Mushrooms have a higher percentage of protein than most vegetables and they contain vital trace minerals similar to those found in meat. Mushrooms make a great soup to use into a low-sodium casserole.
Baking mushrooms is also easy and you can steam them in the oven if you stuff them. Stuffing button mushrooms is a great way to add flavor and variety as a side dish to any meal. There’s no need for a recipe for this one; just break off the stems, stuff with steamed spinach and a bit of goal cheese, and bake for 10 minutes at 400 degrees. If you choose to sauté mushrooms,you can add them to a complete a meal such as steak and potatoes. This creates a great flavor and adds variety to your meal.
Not sure which method meets your needs? Watch a few of the videos below to master the basics, and check out some of the recipes toward the end of this article to get some serving ideas.
Cooking Mushrooms on the Stove Top
Cooking Mushrooms in the Oven
Cooking Mushrooms in the Microwave
Cooking Mushrooms: 5 Star Cookbooks on Amazon
Looking for some great cookbooks? We get a small commission to help maintain the website if you buy, but the 5 star ratings don’t lie. These are the best of the best, bar none.
- Shroom: Mind-bendingly Good Recipes for Cultivated and Wild Mushrooms
- Champignon cookbook: top 25 recipes with mushrooms
- The Mushroom Cookbook
- Outlander Kitchen: The Official Outlander Companion Cookbook
- The Wild Mushroom Cookbook: Recipes from Mendocino
There are a lot of amazing mushroom recipes out there to try. The bottom of this article has some great links to other websites with mushroom cooking ideas.
Cooking Mushrooms: 5 Top Recipes to Try
1. Gyro Burger with Mushrooms
Cooking with Caitlain teaches how to beef up the classic Gyro burger? It’s a super easy weeknight meal that the whole family will love. Kids will go for it, too.
2. Mushroom Masala
Authentic Indian cooking that anybody can prepare in less than 20 minutes. Its special garlic and herb seasoning sets it apart as far as other recipes. Serve it with a flat brad and you’re sure to impress.
3. Mushroom and Asparagus Pasta
This easy Mushroom and Asparagus Pasta recipe is a fun dinner recipe that adds a but of the gourmand to a weeknight dinner. Especially a good recipe for serving dinner guests.
4. Mushroom Fry
This Indian mushroom fry is made of mushroom, onions, and tomatoes. Sure to become a favorite mushroom, its delicately spiced to give a distinct flavor and aroma.
5, Garlic Mushrooms and Onions: Side Dish or Over Steak
This Garlic, Mushrooms and Onions recipe is both meaty and tasty. Cook it alone, as a side dish or over steak. Or turn it into a Mushroom and Swiss over Garlic bread.
Mushroom Recipes from Around the Web
Here are some great recipes to check out on other website. I especially dig the first article from Food Republic.
- 31 Things to Cook in March: Dan Dan Noodles with Shiitake Mushrooms – Food Republic
- Quinoa, Feta, and Spinach-Stuffed Mushrooms – Cooking Light
- Rigatoni with Mushroom Sauce – Today.com
- Vegetable Wellington with Mushrooms and Spinach – PureWow
- How to Make Classic Chicken Marsala at Home – The Kitchn
Note: All images on this page are courtesy of the Mushroom Council and MushroomInfo.com