(NC) – Mushrooms are one of the most versatile and natural ingredients used by today’s chefs. With their rich and meaty texture they can be used in almost any dish, from breakfast to dinner. Most Canadians are familiar with Canada’s most popular mushroom, the white button, but what about all the other varieties on the market? With names like Shiitake, King Oyster and Enoki, we tend to feel intimated, but you too can easily prepare these specialty varieties at home.
Crimini mushrooms have a rich and nutty flavour that is slightly stronger than the white button mushroom. What’s great about the crimini is that it can be substituted for white buttons in any recipe. This gives you the opportunity to experiment with its stronger flavour and full texture.
Recipe suggestion: Baked Mushroom Topped Brie
The large Portabella mushroom is well known by grillers. Its intense meaty flavour and robust texture make it ideal for grilling or stuffing. Portabellas make as great substitute for meat, and are perfect as a vegetarian entree or the ultimate mushroom burger.
Recipe suggestion: Marinated Portabella Burgers
Shiitake mushrooms are a flavourful mushroom that is often found in Asian cooking. These woodsy mushrooms have a very soft texture when cooked and are prefect stir-fried or sauteed with poultry, meat or pasta. Tough stems should be removed, and can be used to make stock.
Recipe suggestion: Shiitake Mushroom Scramble
Oyster mushrooms are best eaten cooked. They have a mild flavour and velvety texture which is complemented nicely by cream sauces, pork or seafood.
Recipe suggestion: Mushroom Foccacia
The King Oyster mushroom may take some by surprise. This entire mushroom is edible, including the thick stem, which is pleasantly chewy. King oysters have a very delicate woodsy flavour with a hint of sweetness. They stand up well to being sauteed, stir-fried and grilled.
Recipe suggestion: King Oyster Tomato Pizza
Enoki mushrooms are the most unusual looking of the bunch. These tiny mushrooms are grassy with a slight woodsy flavour. Enoki’s are best used raw, and make a great alternative to bean sprouts. They make the perfect addition to salads, soups and sandwiches, and add interest as a garnish on stir-fries.
Recipe suggestion: Enoki Salmon Roll
Delicious mushroom recipes are available online at www.mushrooms.ca.