Mushrooms come in all shapes and sizes. They also can be cooked in a variety of ways. Knowing some of the most common kinds, and best ways to prepare them, will take you from home-cook to experienced chef.
– The white button is the most popular mushroom consumed in the United States, and the most commonly found mushroom in grocery stores and markets. The stem and cap are both white to slightly off-white in color. Like any mushroom, make sure to clean them from extra dirt and debris, then cut according to the recipe (this mushroom’s cap and stem can both be eaten). Check out Chef Michael Chiarello’s delicious yet simple recipe for sautéed white button mushrooms here.
– The crimini mushroom is very similar to the white button in appearance and size, but the crimini is light tan to brown in color. The cap and stem can both be eaten, just make sure to clean before use. Crimini mushrooms are delicious sautéed and caramelized. Crimini mushrooms are also great for vegetable stocks because of their flavor and affordability. For a mushroom stock that will enhance soups and sauces alike, check out Martha Stewarts recipe here.
– Shiitake mushrooms have incredible mushroom flavor and a firmer, more palatable texture. The cap is tan to brown in color and on the larger side (like an umbrella). The stems are normally curved, and should be removed before eaten. Shiitake mushrooms are perfect in soups and commonly seen in ramen noodle dishes. Shiitake mushrooms are also great when seared hard, forming a crispy brown exterior and soft luscious interior.
– A larger relative to the crimini, portobello mushrooms are very hard to miss when searching in a grocery store. These mushrooms can get up to 6 inches in diameter! Portobello mushrooms are known to have a meaty texture, so they are commonly eaten as a beef burger patty replacement. Try this recipe here from The Food Network.
– Oyster mushrooms live up to their name because they actually look, smell and taste like an oyster! These mushrooms can range in color from white/yellow to light blue, but they all are similar in size and shape. Oyster mushrooms are stemless, and grow into a cluster of oyster shaped shrooms. They’re velvety texture make them a very special ingredient to work with. For a list of delicious recipes using oyster mushrooms, check out the Huffington Post’s article here.
– Enoki mushrooms are very unique in shape, in that they have long stems and tiny button caps. They are are also white in color and smaller in size. These mushrooms have a wonderful crunchy texture, rather than spongy like a lot of others. Enoki’s are great when pickled and tossed in a leafy salad. Check out The Splendid Table’s recipe here for pickled enoki mushrooms.