Picking The Right Mushroom For Every Recipe – The Big Guide | Epicurious

– There are over 14,000 identified varieties of mushrooms. Today, we’re gonna go over some of the most commonly found, rare, and delicious edible mushrooms. We’re gonna be slicing dicing, frying, and tasting. Oh, my God! Over 15 types of mushrooms. [upbeat music] Okay, since there is so much to consider, we’re going break it down into chapters, to try to keep things simple. In chapters one and two, we’re going to break down some of the most common edible mushrooms, like the ones that you’re most likely to encounter in your market. We’ll take a look into what makes each category unique, and cook some delicious dishes to show you the best ways to utilize them. In chapter three, we’ll be looking at even more mushrooms, and compare them to some that I’ve been growing at home. We’ll also talk about mushrooms as a meat substitute, and make some delicious king trumpet steaks. And in our final chapter, we’ll talk about some specialty mushrooms, like this black truffle. Chapter one, The Big Three. Here we have three of the most common mushrooms, white button, cremini and portobello. Combined, these three mushrooms account for over 90% of mushroom consumption, but that’s not all. The secret truth about these mushrooms is that they are all the same mushroom. [crowd gasps] That’s right, portobellos are just mature criminis, and white buttons are just the young, white version of criminis. Even though these three mushrooms are technically the same species, they can have different uses. So let’s get into what makes them each unique. White button aka champignon. He’s so cute. It’s one of the most cultivated varieties in the world, and has been grown for centuries. These grow in the dark, and they were believed to have first been grown in the catacombs beneath Paris. So when you’re buying white buttons in the store, you’ll probably find them in a package like this. If you’re not cooking with them right away, take them out of the package and put them in a paper bag. This will help them breathe and get ventilation. Man down! So when you put them in the refrigerator, you can even leave the paperback open, so that the air flow can circulate, and that they don’t get slimy and mushy. If you leave them in an airtight container for a few days, like I did, they start to get slimy, and they’ll also bruise. They’ll get brown spots from where the moisture is starting to come out. It’ll just accelerate them breaking down and rotting. So you wanna let them breathe and have plenty of space. It is very common as a topping on pizza, where you’ll just see it sliced and then scattered over the top, and baked on top of the pizza. They can be eaten raw, as long as they’re clean, and they don’t really taste like much, but they have a very spongy kind of texture, that’s kind of firm, has a little crunch to it, but not a ton of flavor. So these are white buttons that have just been roasted, with a little oil and salt. You can see the color deepens as the moisture content starts to come out and they shrivel up a little bit. Mm. It does concentrate their flavor, a lot more of that, kind of like deep caramelized flavor, but still on the milder side. Cremino aka Baby Bella. So these are crimini. This is a cremino, kind of like octopus and octopi. I don’t think that’s a thing. [elevator music] When purchasing these mushrooms, check under the cap to see if the gills are covered. Typically, covered gills means that they’ll have a more delicate flavor. The gills are these thin structures just underneath the cap. The purpose of the gills is to create and release spores for reproduction. As you cook white buttons, they start to get darker and turn brown anyway, when the water starts to leech out. So, unless you need that white color shaved raw on a salad, feel free to use crimini for any use that you would use white buttons for, that’s cooked anyway. It tastes just like a white button, spongy texture, firm, a little crunch to it, but still very mild. And look, without the outer layer, it even looks like a white button. These are portobello or portobella. The name means beautiful door in Italian. No one’s really sure where it came from. Some people say it was a marketing gimmick that came about in the ’80s, to make it sell better, because it wasn’t as popular as its smaller siblings. And it worked. Nowadays, these are incredibly popular. Compared to the crimini, these gills are much longer and very well-defined. You always wanna check the gills on mushrooms like this, to make sure that they’re not holding any dirt, or particles of sand, or twigs in between, because that can really get caught in there. Because of this shape and size, they’re great to use as buns, as a bread replacement, or you can do what I’m about to do and make mini pizzas. [bright music] So we’re gonna make some mini portobello pizzas, using the mushroom cap instead of a pizza crust. So, first thing we’re going to do is just pop off the stem here. We’re just gonna scrape these out, using a spoon. It’s like a drum. Instead of washing these in the sink, we’re just gonna wipe them off with a damp cloth, just to remove any dirt that might be on the outside of the cap. Now we’re ready to cook. So we’re just gonna start with a little bit of oil, and we’re gonna sear the mushroom gills side down first. We’re gonna let it soften, and as it cooks, then we’ll start pressing on the mushroom to press out any of the excess moisture. As it loses water, it’ll start to shrink a little bit. And this you definitely want to do on high heat, because you want the moisture to evaporate as soon as it comes out of the mushroom. It’s kind of like searing a piece of meat. This is like the size of one of those, like Pizza Hut personal pan pizzas from back in the day. See all that liquid? That’s probably about half of the volume that it was before, maybe a little bit more than that. All right, we are ready to top it. So we’re gonna start with our tomato sauce, add a little bit of fresh basil. This is freshly grated mozzarella. We’re gonna grate a little bit of Parmesan, then we’re gonna bake it in the oven, until the cheese is bubbling and golden brown. [bright music] Nice. So this was in the oven for about 10 or 15 minutes at 375, just until the cheese is melted and bubbling and golden on top. And now we’re gonna top it with a little bit of fresh basil and a little bit of grated Parmesan. Come on, what could be better than that? Mm, even though the mushroom is tender, it still has some bite to it. So you get a little bit of texture on the bottom, and it has this like, rich earthiness, that really compliments the Parmesan and the cheese. I’m a huge fan of pizza crust, but I think this is absolutely delicious. And I think that you will love it. Chapter two, Woody Mushrooms. I’m calling these woody mushrooms, because in the wild they grow on the sides of trees and out of groundwood. These mushrooms are very commonly used in Asian cuisines. And in America, we refer to them by their Japanese names, maitake, enoki, and shiitakes. There are two types of shiitakes. This one, which is probably more common here, in the US, is the regular shiitake mushroom, and this one, in Japan is referred to as the dongo, it’s much more rare and a lot more aromatic. These both have a similar flavor, although they look very, very different. The typical shiitake that we see in the US has a flatter cap, with a slight curl at the bottom. The dongo has a bigger curl and a fatter cap. It also has a crackly texture on the top, that looks kind of like a loaf of bread, after it’s been baked. So these are great for pickling, and it’s something very quick that you can keep in your fridge for a long time. You just wanna slice them straight across, leaving a little bit of the stem. We’re just gonna add them straight to our jar. And then we’re just gonna throw some aromatics in the jar. Couple of dried chili peppers, bay leaves, black peppercorns. You can add whatever flavorings you want. They’re just a nice addition to pretty much anything that you want a little bit of tanginess. And if you put your chili peppers in, anything that you wanna add a little spice. Just gonna cover this up and keep it in your fridge. It’s best to let it sit for a day or two before you start eating, and it can last for up to three months. This is the enoki mushroom. In the wild, this mushroom has a dark brown color and a shorter thicker stem, but this is a cultivated version of enoki, that is grown in the dark, which prevents it from developing any color, much like the white button. They hold up great in soups and stews, and make a great addition to salads, because of their crisp texture. And here we have a little cluster of roasted. All they need is oil and salt. You’re not tryna cover it up. You just really wanna roast them to intensify the flavor. Mm. I really love mushrooms, if you can’t tell. [elevator music] Maitake mushrooms. The name means dancing mushroom in Japanese. I’m not 100% sure why they’re called dancing mushroom, but I think it’s because if you’re lucky enough to find one, you’ll do a little happy dance. Cause these are definitely my favorite mushrooms. [serene music] Maitakes are known as polypores, because unlike some of the other mushrooms that we’ve seen, they don’t have gills. They release their spores through small pores on the back. They smell kind of like beer or kombucha. They have that kind of fermented, yeasty quality. It’s very heady and earthy and aromatic. It’s kind of like a damp forest floor, like a forest floor that you wanna lick. [soft music] Although you can eat them raw, they do have a little bit of a bitter aftertaste, so they’re much better roasted or cooked. I love to take advantage of the unique shape of maitakes whenever I cook them. So I’m going to show you my whole fried maitake, kind of like a blooming onion, but it’s a maitake. [bright music] So first, we’re going to dust our mushroom with Wondra flour, because it’s a pre gelatinized flour, that you will never get lumps from. That way, the petals and the stems can stay nice and separate, after we hit them with the batter. And we’ll let this guy hang out while we make our batter. Again, we’re gonna use Wondra flour for this, about two tablespoons of corn starch, and we’re gonna use a couple pinches of salt. We’re gonna make a beer batter. You don’t want your batter to be too thick, so gently whisk it as you pour your beer in. You want it to be kind of the consistency of heavy cream. Now we have a beautiful, smooth batter, no lumps. We’re gonna get our oil hot and get this cooking. So now we have some oil that is heating up, to be able to fry. We’ve got our batter, and we’ve got our dusted mushroom ready to go. First thing we’re gonna do is dip our dusted mushroom in the batter. Just twirl it. And this beautiful batter, because it is on the thinner side, it’ll just make a nice thin coat on all of the petals, and now it’s time to fry. Just carefully lower it into the oil. Sometimes it’s hard, but you have to leave it alone and let it cook, and not mess with it all the time. So be patient. Just hold this guy still, he’s tryna run away. All right. So, for our dipping sauce we’re just gonna do two of my favorite things, mayonnaise and Sriracha, without the bottle fart. And you can do ponzu, you can do soy sauce, whatever you want is great. I just want a little bit of kick and a little bit of creaminess. All right. Our mushroom is looking GBD, golden, brown, and delicious. So our maitake is fresh out of the oil, just gonna hit it with a little salt, and now we’re gonna trim the base, to make it nice and flat. Oh, you can hear how crunchy that is. And now just to make it look a little pretty, we’re just gonna dust a little bit of paprika over the top. This is what I’ve been waiting for all day. The actual eating of it. Oh, my God, do you hear that? It is so crunchy. Mm, okay. If you have not tried a fried maitake mushroom, you have not lived. This is so [beep] good. Oh, sorry. This is so damn good. You get all of that concentrated maitake flavor, all that earthiness and woodiness, a little bit of yeasty-ness, and just a super light crisp from the batter, but you don’t lose the identity of the mushroom. You taste the mushroom first and foremost, in all of its delicious glory. Oh, my God. Chapter three, Oysters, Trumpets and Lion’s Mane, Oh My! So we’re gonna break down all of these mushrooms, compare them to some homegrown ones, might even throw in a couple of bonuses, and then we’re gonna make some king trumpet steaks. So these are oyster mushrooms. They come in a lot of different colors, including silver, yellow, and blue, although they don’t really look very blue, they are called blue oyster mushrooms. They also come in hot pink, which I was unable to find today, sorry. Oyster mushrooms have decurrent gills, which unlike the shiitakes and portobellos, start at the back of the cap, and run all the way down the stem. They have a pretty strong smell. Some say that it’s similar to anise, but to me it’s more like black licorice, mixed with like wet woodchips. It’s almost got a meaty kind of flavor to it, like not iron-y. Ooh, ooh, it comes on strong, too. Whoa. Hmm. Cooked, very pleasant. Raw, not so much, but the flavor’s nice. It’s kind of earthy and kinda woody, not as yeasty and fermented as the maitakes, but it has a very pleasant kind of like umami flavor and feel in the mouth. Umami is referred to as the fifth taste. It mainly refers to the feeling that you get when you’re eating something like roasted mushrooms, that provides depth and aroma, that kind of hits you more in the back of your tongue and your palate. You’re kind of breathing it. It’s like all encompassing, more than just like a distinct taste on your tongue. Oyster mushrooms are said to have first been cultivated in Germany, during World War I, as a subsidence measure, probably because they’re relatively cheap and quite easy to grow, evidenced by the fact that I was able to grow some at home, over this past week. Check it out. Oww. Look at my baby. Everybody, meet Pearl, Pearl, meet everybody. Pearl is part of a grow kit that we got from our friends, over at Smallhold. What’s great about these grow kits, is that they make an easy process, even easier. Cut a few openings in the bag, spritz it with water, and a few days later, these guys started sprouting out. [upbeat music] This is the lion’s mane. The other mushroom that we grew. Leo, meet everybody, everybody, this is Leo. You’ll notice that this is a very unique looking mushroom. It doesn’t have gills or pores, like the other mushrooms that we looked at. Instead, it uses these teeth for its spore delivery. Smells a little bit like the white button. Like it’s very mild, but it’s so dense in the center, it almost looks like a cauliflower floret. It’s a really good stand in for lobster or crab, very chewy, but very tender. It’s a little earthier than shellfish is, but it still has that same sweetness, that is really pleasant, and really, really great flavor. Lion’s mane has been used in traditional medicine for a really long time. And today, it is a super popular nutritional supplement. Actually, many mushrooms have uses outside of just tasting delicious and being a good substitute for meat. There are even some mushrooms that may work great as a supplement, but aren’t very delicious on their own. And if you’ve been wondering what that is, that’s one of the ones I’m talking about. This is the reishi mushroom. It can come in a more traditional mushroom shape, with a cap, or it can come in a shape like this, which is referred to as an antler reishi. So reishi is another mushroom that’s been used for years in traditional medicine. It’s said to boost immune function, but it is super bitter to eat on its own. So, a lot of times it’s boiled down to create an extract, or you can just buy it in powder form. Some people swear by mushroom powders and extracts these days. I personally have not tried them yet, but I’m going to see what all the fuss is about. Oh, and it just tastes like very light mushroom stock. It’s not bad. I don’t know why I was so scared, maybe cause the smell was a little off-putting, but I’m actually kind of a fan, okay. The king trumpet, which is related to the oyster mushroom, that we just talked about, except it has a more tree-like shape, and a much thicker stem. Its meaty texture and flavor with all that umami, makes it a great meat substitute. So now we are gonna make some king trumpet steaks. [bright music] So the first thing I’m gonna do is just trim the bottom, where the stem starts to come in. It’s not tough, but it is a little woody, and then cut the mushroom in half lengthwise, so you have the beautiful interior of the stem exposed, and now we’re just gonna score it. So we have a beautiful diamond crosshatch pattern. It just takes something simple, like a mushroom, and just kind of makes it look really fancy, which is always fun. Season our mushroom lightly, maybe not too lightly. And we’re just gonna dust a little bit of Wondra flour, to create a nice, thin crust, that’ll brown evenly in our saute pan. So we’re starting with a nice hot cast iron skillet. You hear that sizzle, which is great, because mushrooms have such a high water content, that you really want them to sear and evaporate that liquid as soon as it starts to come out. We just wanna try to get nice, even browning, just like you would get on a steak. We’re gonna go ahead and add some thyme, garlic, shallot, and a little bit of butter. We’re gonna let the butter melt and infuse all these aromatics into that fat. And then we’re just gonna baste the top of the mushroom, to finish cooking it, and get that flavor inside. Just like you would do a steak, the butter is gonna brown and bubble, and you’re just gonna keep basting. We’re also gonna add our sage. Unlike the thyme, the sage can burn if it cooks for too long, so that’s something that you just wanna add right before the end and let it crisp up in that butter. Hey, so our mushrooms smell amazing. They’re tender and ready to go. So we’re just gonna plate them here, with a little bit of polenta, that is delicious and seasoned with love and Parmesan. And we’re just gonna put our king trumpets right on top. We’re gonna put our crispy sage with that. I love caramelized shallots, so feel free to add as many as you want. And we’re also gonna spoon a little bit of our browned butter, right over the top, because why not? And we’re gonna hit it with a little bit of freshly grated Parmesan. Damn! That is like the most comforting thing that you would ever wanna eat. The texture of the mushrooms is so dense and rich, that it is almost like eating a slice of chicken breast or steak. It’s tender. You get all this deep woodsy flavor. Mm. I have nothing to say. That is just too good for words. Chapter four, Specialty Mushrooms. We have dried chanterelles, black truffle, hedgehog, dried porcini, and fresh morels. For the most part, these mushrooms can only be found in the wild, and are not successfully cultivated on a commercial scale. They usually have short growing seasons that lasts from anywhere from a few weeks to just a few months. This little guy here is the hedgehog mushroom. It is actually really cute. He looks like a little umbrella. Similar to the lion’s mane, hedgehog mushrooms have teeth instead of gills or pores, like some of the other mushrooms we looked at. For amateur foragers, the hedgehog is a great mushroom to start looking for, because of its distinct shape and size and teeth. It’s harder to confuse with some of the mushroom varieties that have deadly lookalikes out there. Disclaimer, do your own research before foraging. This is only a video about cooking. Thank you. [bright music] Hmm. Very earthy, slightly sweet, slightly nutty, almost like an almond flavor to it. Very faint though. Hedgehogs, I would probably just saute with a little bit of garlic and shallot, and I would serve them probably with something very simple, like a piece of fish, or something that has a mild flavor, where the taste of the mushroom won’t be covered up. So chanterelle and porcini mushrooms are two mushrooms that are very hard to find. They’re very seasonal and very expensive. So that’s why we have them here in dried form, which is much more common than finding them fresh. Let’s talk about the chanterelle first. Eating raw chanterelles can be upsetting to your stomach. So maybe just stick with smelling them, when you come across them fresh. It’s kind of like a woodsy caramel smell. In restaurants, a lot of times you’ll see these just simply sauteed and paired with things that don’t cover up their flavor, because they are so delicious and so fleeting during the year, that you really wanna enjoy them for what they are. Sometimes we would saute them in a little bit of foie gras fat, and finish them with garlic and thyme, and they are absolutely delicious, served over ricotta and toast. Porcini means piglet in Italian. I don’t know why, it doesn’t look like a piglet but either way, porcinis are some of the most sought after mushrooms for their flavor and texture. The stems are hearty, and woody, and absolutely delicious, and the caps are tender and delicate, and have a strong flavor, that is amazing with everything from foie gras to chicken, to just served on its own. And I really can’t wait until the season comes around and I can get my hands on some fresh ones. Morel mushrooms are another variety of mushroom that are notoriously difficult to cultivate. Because these mushrooms have such a short growing season and are in such high demand, it really drives the price up and the demand up on these. They have a very distinct honeycomb pattern, with ribs running up and down, and a few smaller ones connecting laterally. So morels can be prepared in a variety of ways. Sometimes you’ll see them sliced thinly into beautiful little rings, that are sauteed and used as garnish on top of a piece of meat. You will also sometimes see larger ones trimmed and stuffed. That is a classic preparation called Morilles Farcies, and it just creates this incredibly delicious, earthy, umami, full dish, that just wraps your whole head in joy. Black truffles. So I’m sure you’ve seen shelves full of products, of truffle varieties, truffle oils, truffle salts, about 90% of them don’t actually contain any truffle at all. They just use synthetic compounds that are made to mimic the aroma and flavor of truffles. I [beep] hate truffle oil. The first time I ever saw truffle was when I was working in a three Michelin star restaurant, in one year, another chef from another fine dining restaurant, gifted us about a half a pound of white truffles, just for the kitchen staff, to use for family meal, because we had just retained our three Michelin stars. And our chef de cuisine made a huge batch of soft scrambled eggs, and just shaved white truffle over, I mean a pan about this size. So I’m gonna share with you the dish that made me fall in love with truffles, and that is soft scrambled eggs with thinly shaved truffle. Although we’re not in white truffle season, so we’ll be using these beautiful black summer truffles. [bright music] So the key to really creamy, soft scrambled eggs is starting it at a low temperature. If you put them into a hot pan, they’re gonna start to cook immediately, and then you’ll get harder, dryer parts of the egg. It takes a little bit longer than starting in a warmer pan, but the resulting texture is so creamy, and rich, and decadent, it is totally worth it. And also an egg pan is like gold. When I used to work brunch service or breakfast, any cook who was doing egg station, would keep the pans in their locker, so that they would always have them available, and other people wouldn’t scratch ’em. Keep ’em moving almost the entire time. They will stay super duper soft, because you’re constantly breaking them up and mixing them into each other. So it’ll be very luxurious, and rich, and yummy. They should be like the texture of risotto, which, look at that, they are. Yay! So I’m gonna give ’em a tiny pinch more salt and a little crack of pepper at the end. And now the shaving of the summer truffle. Winter truffles are gonna be black throughout with white veins. Summer truffles are more of a white color on the inside, with some veining, but it’s more of like a gray on white, instead of black and white. You wanna shave them super thinly, so that you can release as much of that aroma and those essential oils as you can. So even though this looks super simple, it is incredible. I highly recommend taking the time to make a beautiful soft scramble if you’re so inclined, no pressure, but it is very rewarding. It’s just eggs and mushrooms, two of the best things on earth. So that was mushrooms. Thanks so much for tuning in, and I hope you learned a lot, and I hope that you go and try some of these dishes that we made here today. Feel free to leave a comment, and let us know what you wanna see next time, on The Big Guide. I’m Adrienne Cheatham, and I hope to see you again.

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