In season: mushrooms
This article was originally published in October 2013
At PCC you’ll find a selection of cultivated and foraged fresh mushrooms each season — including locally foraged chanterelles in the fall and morels in the spring — and crimini, button, shiitake and oyster, as well as dried varieties perfect for making soups, stews and sauces.
- Store mushrooms in a paper bag. Storing them in plastic will lead to a lot of condensation and pontentially soggy ‘shrooms. Most varieties will keep for 3 days.
- Clean mushrooms by gently wiping away clumps of dirt with a paper towel. There’s no need to wash them, and wet mushrooms won’t cook nearly as well as dry ones. Trim just the bottom edge of the stem before cooking.
- Cooking mushrooms concentrates their earthy flavors. Sauté them slowly until they release their moisture. Cooked in a single layer in an uncrowded pan, they’ll have plenty of room for the water to evaporate so the mushrooms don’t get steamed. Keep the heat just high enough to hear the sizzle of the olive oil (you can also use butter). For the best texture, salt them only at the end of cooking. Submerging them in broth can lead to slime, so try cooking them separately before adding them into a recipe with a lot of liquid.
Soften whole dried mushrooms in hot water, broth or wine for at least 15 minutes before adding to a dish. Drain, rinse and blot on paper towels. You can use the flavorful soaking liquid as all or part of a recipe’s cooking liquid; strain through a double thickness of cheesecloth or clean, unprinted paper towel before using.
Whip up a classic Italian dish of Tagliatelle ai Funghi (Pasta with Mushrooms).