How to Cook Mushrooms

Variations

Method

The best way to cook most mushrooms, but especially mushrooms that don’t have a lot of flavor, such as the white button mushroom, is in high, high heat. Mushrooms benefit hugely from browning, but browning doesn’t happen in the presence of water, which mushrooms are loaded with. So, the key to getting a good sear on mushrooms is to sear them before they can release their water.

To do this, get your sauté pan hot, screaming hot, so hot that when you pour in the oil, the oil immediately loosens and swirls and begins to smoke. Immediately add your mushrooms, just enough to cover the bottom of the pan in one layer. Press them hard against the pan so that they hiss and squeak. When one side is browned, flip them or toss them in the pan and repeat to get as much browning done as possible before the mushrooms begin to drop their water and cool off the pan.

Now that the mushrooms are browned, you can flavor them. Add a big tablespoon of minced shallot and stir to cook, then deglaze with dry white wine. Add salt and plenty of freshly ground black pepper, and continue cooking until all the liquid has cooked off. Now you have delicious sautéed mushrooms for your omelet or quiche.

* Add them to quiche in place of sausage for a vegetarian alternative.

* Add cream and brandy and more pepper for a superb mushroom sauce for steak.

* Stir a couple tablespoons of butter into them to finish them off and serve them as a side to roast chicken or steak.

* Add them to Meat Loaf; they’ll deepen the flavor and add juiciness.

* Transfer half of the mushrooms to a saucepan, add cream just to cover, and bring the cream to a simmer. Blend the mixture thoroughly with an immersion blender, then add the remaining whole pieces of mushroom. Reheat for some of the most luxurious cream of mushroom soup you’ve ever had.