Cooking with Mushrooms #MushroomMonday

by: EJ on 04/11/2016

Welcome to #MushroomMonday!  For the next few weeks, we will be posting an excerpt from Mycelial Mayhem: Growing Mushrooms for Fun, Profit and Companion Planting by David and Kristin Sewak covering growing, cooking, marketing and, best of all, eating, mushrooms.  There are a bewildering array of gourmet mushrooms available to eat and it can be a bit overwhelming knowing how to use each one.  To assist with your culinary enjoyment of gourmet mushrooms, here are David and Kirsten Sewak’s descriptions of how different mushrooms taste, feel, and look.

Shiitake Mushrooms

Shiitake block in table display

Shiitake: earthy, woodsy, rich, can have a hint of garlic; meaty texture; can be basis for a dish, such as a superior replacement for Portobello sandwiches; long used for its medicinal qualities.

Oyster: most have a mild flavor, but the tastes differ; these are unique and versatile mushrooms, the deeper the color, the richer the flavor (we’ve found).

Our Place 6.25.12 Pink Oysters C

Pink Oyster Mushrooms

Pink Oyster: a lot of people say that it has a mild seafood flavor (we’ve never tasted that, but we eat lion’s mane for its seafood flavor); short shelf life; beautiful pinkish/salmon color, which can be somewhat preserved with very fresh oysters sautéed over low heat.

Italian Oyster: thick caps; rich, woodsy flavor; crunchy texture; supposedly awesome with wild boar, but we’ve never tried it.

King Oyster: big, meaty, rich mushroomy flavor; great in creamy mushroom soup; use the stem also.

Lion’s Mane: seafood-ey, firm texture, sweetish; looks really unique and cool; long used for its medicinal qualities.

Pioppino: the best, great classic mushroom flavor; a bit of a crunchy texture; full of umami.


Chicken of the Woods

Chicken of the Woods: tastes like frog legs (just kidding), therefore tastes like chicken; firm texture, rich aroma; can be basis for a dish — a great replacement for hormone-infested industrialized chicken.

Maitake: very woodsy, great in soups, great with long grain rice; usually, specimens are big enough to serve as base for a couple of dishes; long used for its medicinal qualities.


Black Chanterelles

Black Chanterelles: earthy, great complement as a dehydrated seasoning, awesome in crème (i.e., our cream of watercress and black chanterelle soup, see recipe to follow); presentation  mushroom, as they are small and shiny black.

Nameko: slimier than eel skin until you cook it, then it’s awesome; nutty, crunchy.

Wine Cap copy

Wine Cap Stropharia

Wine Cap Stropharia: meaty, mild, woodsy flavor, great steak topping, great cooked with wine and sherry, which bring out its sweet side; can use entire mushroom (cap and stem), so great presentation, especially because of the burgundy cap.

Morels: there’s a reason they’re the most sought after!

Reishi: tastes like sucking on a dirty sock (worse than bitter), learn to add honey, lemon, ginger, flavored teas (like raspberry), or a mixture of spices or spiced tea; long used for its medicinal qualities.


In the eastern North America, watercress should just be starting to grow in fresh flowing streams.  This recipe for cream of watercress and black chanterelle soup sounds like a perfect way to celebrate spring.


Cream of Watercress and Black Chanterelle Soup


32 oz chicken broth
2 qt heavy cream
½ lb fresh chanterelles
1 tbsp dehydrated chanterelles
1 lb watercress
2 tbsp butter
1 bacon slice
1 medium onion, chopped
2 tbsp fresh garlic, minced
2 tbsp dry sherry
½ tbsp thyme

In a pot, brown the slice of bacon without overcooking.
Remove bacon, leaving the drippings. Add the butter.
Sauté onions and garlic until the onions get translucent.
Add the broth, watercress, dried chanterelles, and thyme.
With a hand blender, blend the broth until the cress is chopped fairly fine.
Bring to a slow boil and then turn down heat.
Add fresh chanterelles and sherry. Simmer for 10 minutes.
Stir in cream and simmer. Top off with a sprig of watercress.
Allow guests to add salt and pepper to taste.

For more great mushrooms recipes, buy Mycelial Mayhem from our website.


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