In recent years, one of the trends in cooking is to start using mushrooms everywhere. Why? Because they are nutritious, delicious, and have many uses since one can prepare dozens of preparations with them, but also use them in order to enhance others! So today, I thought of sharing some of my favorite recipes with you, and -at the same time- to talk to you about everything that has made me love this unique raw material.
So, let’s start by going back in time… In the very old days, some people believed a lot in mushrooms. They were given magical properties (because of the hallucinogenic properties that some of them had), they thought mushrooms could give power to people, help them…find their lost objects, and even lead their souls to the gods! Nowadays, however, the… magical properties of mushrooms are focused on their nutritional value and -of course- on their incomparable taste!
You see, mushrooms are low in calories and rich in nutrients. They contain protein and fiber, while -depending on their type- they may also have phosphorus, iron, and zinc, as well as selenium or vitamin D. And this is just a small sample of their excellent nutritional value.
So, shall we get to know some of their types?
There are thousands of mushroom varieties around the world. We do not know exactly how many, but they are estimated at around 4,000-5,000. Of these, of course, not all are edible. Actually, not even half of them are edible. In particular, there are about 300 types of edible mushrooms with which we can make nutritious soups. We can create wonderful pies and enhance the taste of our food. We can grill them, put them in salads, assemble delicious risotti, pizzas, and pasta dishes with them. So, which are some of the most common types that we frequently have in our kitchens?
Porcini: They taste like meat (something that happens with other mushrooms as well). They have a soft texture and a characteristic thick stem. We can enjoy them grilled, as well as combined with pasta, rice, and meat.
Oyster: Their shape is irregular, while on their bottom side we can see their characteristic gills. If we bake them, their taste will undoubtedly remind us of meat. We can even make soups with them, while some use them in meat dishes, salads, and…fish dishes.
Portobello: Vegetarians love them (not only these, but all mushrooms). We can enjoy their characteristic cap stuffed, while there are many who use it in other dishes, such as in risotti and soups, when they want to give them a more…earthy taste.
White mushrooms: Also known as champignons or parisiennes, they are probably some of the most popular mushrooms in the world. Their taste is mild and much clearer, which makes them more “accessible” to those who are not familiar with more intense flavors. They are small, they look like the portobello mushrooms, and their shades range from white, beige, to lighter brown. Where do we use them? We add them in soups, we make them fried or cooked, we enhance our pizzas with them, we use them in risotti, sauces, as well as in our pasta dishes.
Truffle: This is a rare type of mushroom which differs from other mushrooms in that it grows in the soil and not above it. It is hard to find and -consequently- quite expensive. The truffle can be black or white and is used in risotti, sauces, pasta, and meats, while many prefer to enjoy it raw by grating it over their pasta or bruschette.
And now that we know them better, let's see what delicacies we can prepare with them!