Types of Mushrooms
There are many types of mushrooms in the world that can make wonderful additions to your gourmet repertoire. Mushrooms can usually be purchased fresh or dried, and add a layer of rich earthiness to any dish - experiment to see which are your favorites!
Criminis are actually small portobello mushrooms. These little guys pack more flavor than their similarly-shaped cousin, the white button mushroom, but are still on the low-end of the fungus price spectrum. Criminis go very well in soups and you won't find a better shroom to saute and pour over a hamburger.
Enokies are one of the smaller types of mushrooms. These little guys are great raw or cooked, and you'll commonly see them marinated in oil or vinegar and served as an appetizer.
These mountain mushrooms can usually be found growing on logs along snowlines, earning them the nickname "snow puff." They have several other names as well:
- Winter mushroom
- Velvet stem mushroom
Maitakes are known for both their culinary and medicinal properties. Meaty and delicate with an earthy flavor, maitake mushrooms are popular in Japanese cuisine. In Chinese medicine they are used for supplementing immune function and restoring equilibrium to the body.
This large, flowery mushroom grows in old oak trees and is also known as:
- Sheep's head mushroom
- Ram's head mushroom
- Hen of the woods
Morels are a culinary delight, and they're priced at the high end of the fungus scale. While these webby shrooms are expensive, their delicate earthy flavor is well worth the money. They are also known as "molly moochers" in some parts of the USA.
Note: morels need to be cooked before eating, otherwise they are toxic.
Portobellos are large mushrooms that have a soft but earthy taste. 'Bellas are a popular meat analog for vegetarians since they are big enough to be grilled and used as an alternative to hamburgers and steaks.
The Japanese shiitake is a popular and tasty morsel. In addition to its culinary value, it's also used in Chinese medicine for its immune-boosting, antibacterial and anti-tumor properties.
Oysters have a mild taste and grow in large, gray clusters. It can commonly be found in Asian cuisines as an addition to soups, rice dishes, and stir fries.
Common in European cuisines, the porcini is another very popular mushroom. This deep-flavored mushroom lends an earthy layer to any dish it is added to, and its distinctive aroma is a favorite of French and Italian chefs. It can be sliced into a meat dish or sauteed and served over whatever you like.