THE CASCADIAN’S GUIDE TO COOKING THE BEST SPECIALTY MUSHROOMS


DON’T CROWD THE MUSHROOMS!

This is one of the key techniques for cooking mushrooms that taste great every time. Cooking the mushrooms on their own ensures that you get the best flavor profile and texture from your fungi friends. A dry saute works well for mushrooms that are moist and very fresh; try it: Heat a cast iron or other skillet to medium-high heat. Chop up your mushrooms as you normally do. Throw the chopped mushrooms into the heated pan and stir occasionally. In a minute or two they will begin to release their water. Keep stirring and cooking for a few minutes until the mushrooms begin to brown a bit and the water is gone. Now it’s time for the butter and garlic! Use whatever fat you are cooking with to brown the mushrooms, and to bring out their flavor add a pinch of salt to taste. If your mushrooms have been stored for a time and are slightly dry, add a cup of water to the skillet at the beginning and let that water cook off before you dry saute as above.

 

SHIITAKES

This is arguably the best of all cultivated mushrooms. Its flavor is strong in umami yet not overpowering, and its texture can range from delicate to meaty depending how it is prepared. In addition to its culinary charms, Shiitake is one of the best known of the medicinal mushrooms, used to treat a variety of conditions ranging from high blood cholesterol to cancer; it is a tonic that stimulates the immune system and protects from viruses.

Basic Prep: Remove the stems from fresh mushrooms; chop coarsely and dry saute until the edges of the mushroom are slightly browned, then add a splash of cooking oil and soy sauce and continue cooking for a few minutes. This is a great start to a stir-fry, omelet, or snack. Even better is to leave the caps whole, place them gill-side up in a baking dish or skillet, baste the gills with a 1:2 mixture of soy sauce & olive oil, then bake at 375º for 20 minutes. THE BEST!

 

OYSTER MUSHROOMS

Another very versatile and delicious mushroom, the Oyster, has a mild nutty flavor and delicate texture. Oyster mushrooms are one of the most common wild mushrooms in the world. Growing in almost every climate and continent on the planet, they are commonly foraged in the woods and cultivated on farms. Recently Oyster mushrooms have been shown to decompose petroleum pollutants in the environment and may be part of a solution to toxic oil spills and environmental contamination.

Basic Prep:  Great in pasta sauces, stir-fries, egg and fish dishes. Begin by chopping off the “heart” of the Oyster Mushroom cluster (where all the stems come together) and coarsely chop up the caps and stems. Dry saute the chopped mushrooms until water cooks off. Add olive oil and finely chopped garlic, cook until golden brown, then add to your favorite dish. Make a simple pasta sauce by adding a can of diced tomatoes to the cooked mushrooms, then add a splash of wine, balsamic vinegar, chopped fresh herbs, diced garlic, and simmer until reduced to a sauce consistency and serve over fresh pasta.

 

LION’S MANE

Definitely one of the most interesting-looking and beautiful mushrooms in the world. The Lion’s Mane is a toothed mushroom and can be found growing wild in the Pacific Northwest and New England. Its flavor and texture are similar to crab or lobster meat: a sweet savory flavor and meaty stringy texture. This is also a renowned medicinal mushroom and is being researched for its potential to re-grow nerves in the brain and for its immune-enhancing and anti-cancer properties.

Basic Prep: Lion’s Mane is best enjoyed in its purest form; you don’t want to disguise the flavor of this mushroom by cooking it in a complex meal. Tear the whole mushrooms into bite-sized wedges by separating it like a head of cauliflower.Heat a large skillet and dry saute the mushroom pieces until all the water boils away and the edges begin to brown.  Add a pat of butter to the skillet–enough to coat the mushrooms–and a clove of finely chopped garlic. Cook until golden brown. Dash the cooked mushrooms with a pinch of sea salt and eat them while they’re hot. Try them on small pieces of crusty bread or a good cracker.

 

CINNAMON CAP

A cute little clustered mushroom, recognizable by its striking golden-orange color and scaly appearance. A very popular mushroom in Japan similar to Nameko. This mushroom is characterized by its crisp, crunchy texture and delicious earthy flavor. Great in stir-fry or miso soup.

Basic Prep: Similar to Oyster, begin by chopping the individual mushrooms from the “heart” of the cluster. Cinnamon Cap’s stems are just as good as the caps, so there’s very little waste. Dry saute and finish them with a splash of sesame or peanut oil and a bit of soy sauce. From here you can make a stir fry dish or delicious soup.

 

 

 

RECIPES:

 

CASCADIA CRAB CAKES

Ingredients: 1/2 – 1 pound fresh Shiitake or mixed variety, de-stemmed and diced fine; 1/2 Dungeness crab, cooked and shelled or 1 small can of crab meat; 1 egg; 2 cloves garlic, diced; 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves; Panko bread crumbs; Kosher salt & freshly ground pepper.

Dry saute mushrooms until golden brown, season lightly with salt and pepper, set aside to cool.

In a large bowl shred the cooked crab meat with a fork (if using canned crab, drain water first). Mix in cooked mushrooms, thyme, garlic, and the beaten egg. Mix thoroughly.

Now mix in Panko bread crumbs until the mixture is a good consistency to form patties. It should be moist but not dripping. 

Heat a large skillet and melt some butter or heat cooking oil in it, just enough to coat the pan. Form crab mixture into golf ball sized patties with your hands and place them one by one into the hot skillet. Don’t crowd them.

Allow the crab cake to brown before turning, about 5 minutes. Flip cakes and squash them down gently with your spatula, being careful not to break them up.

Serve your fresh crab cakes hot with cocktail or tartar sauce. They can also be refrigerated and re-heated.

 

WILD RICE & SHIITAKE STUFFING

Ingredients: 1 pound fresh Shiitake, de-stemmed & sliced; 2 cups wild rice; 1 1/2 quarts chicken broth or veggie stock; 2 tablespoons olive oil; 1 large onion or 4 shallots, chopped, 4 cloves garlic, minced; 1 rib celery, chopped; 1/3 cup toasted almonds, coarsely chopped; 1/3 cup dry sherry; 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves; 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley;1 tablespoon fresh sage leaves; salt & freshly ground pepper.

Bring the stock to a boil in a large skillet or stock pot, add the wild rice and salt to taste. When the liquid returns to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 40 minutes until rice is tender and begins to splay, Drain through a strainer if necessary and set rice aside.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat, add the onion or shallots. Cook and stir until tender, about 3 – 5 minutes. Add a generous pinch of salt and the garlic; cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the mushrooms and celery; cook until tender and lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Stir in the cooked rice and remaining ingredients. Cook while stirring until the sherry has evaporated. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Use to stuff your turkey or place in an oiled baking dish and warm in the oven for 20-30 minutes at 350º.

 

CASCADIA CREAM SAUCE

Ingredients: 1 pound fresh mushrooms thinly chopped; 1/3 cup chicken or veggie stock; 3 cloves pressed or finely chopped garlic; 1/3 cup dry white wine; 2 tablespoons olive oil; 1 tablespoon tomato paste; 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt; 2 grinds black pepper; 3/4 cup half & half; 3/4 cup heavy cream; 1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley.

Dry saute mushrooms in a large skillet as described in the COOKING GUIDE.

Whisk together wine, stock, and tomato paste until well blended; set aside.

Turn skillet heat to medium. Add olive oil and garlic to mushrooms; cook until garlic barely begins to brown. Pour in the wine mixture all at once. Add salt & pepper. Bring to a steady simmer and cook until reduced by almost half (5 minutes).

In a bowl combine half & half with heavy cream and gradually whisk this into the sauce until it thickens (do not boil). Stir in the chopped parsley.

Serve this delicious sauce over wild rice or pasta; try it on salmon or potatoes too!

 

ICONOCLASTIC SALMON a la SHIITAKE

Ingredients: 1 fillet Wild Salmon; 1 pound fresh Shiitake, de-stemmed; 1/4 cup maple syrup; 1/4 cup soy sauce; 1 medium onion or shallot, sliced into thin rounds; 1 sprig rosemary. Preheat oven to 350º.

Line a baking tray with aluminum foil and lay your salmon fillet skin-side down on the foil.

Scatter rosemary leaves over the entire salmon fillet. Cover the salmon flesh evenly with whole mushroom caps, gill-side down. Scatter the onion/shallot rings evenly over salmon and mushrooms. Pour maple syrup evenly over the entire fillet. Pour soy sauce evenly over the entire fillet.

Bake on the oven’s middle rack for 20 – 30 minutes until Salmon is done. To judge doneness, use a fork to check the thickest part of the fillet. Texture is best when slightly flaky and a little moist.

 

MUSHROOM BURGERS!

Ingredients: 1/2 to 1 pound fresh mushrooms (any variety), chopped finely; 1 pound ground beef; 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped; 1 – 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped; fresh or dried herbs, finely chopped; 1 egg (optional); salt & pepper to taste.

Dry saute mushrooms until most moisture has evaporated, add onion and garlic and continue cooking for 3 – 5 minutes. Add pinch of salt and remove from heat.

In a large bowl mix sauteed mushrooms and onions with ground beef, herbs, egg (if desired), and a dash of salt & pepper.

Once all ingredients are mixed, form into patties and grill the burgers.

This recipe is great with most varieties of mushroom, especially Shiitake or Oyster.

For an extra flavor burst, try adding a splash of soy sauce or teriyaki while cooking the mushrooms.

 

Cooking Guide and recipes created and submitted by Cascadian Farm Mushrooms

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