Want to add some interesting taste, texture and depth to your holiday cooking? Think mushrooms. While most varieties are available year-round, many foraged choices are at their peak during the holiday season.
“A lot of cooks underestimate mushrooms, thinking of just a few common varieties,” says James Parker, a produce buyer for Whole Foods Market. “But mushrooms are incredibly versatile. From earthy and nutty to buttery and even fruity, mushrooms can add a wide array of flavors to dishes.”
To get the most out of mushrooms, use them quickly so they remain firm and blemish-free. Refrigerate them in a paper bag or container that allows cool air to circulate and make sure they’re not too dry or damp. When ready to cook, clean mushrooms with a damp cloth or rinse briefly and dry with a towel.
This handy guide can help you experiment with different flavors and textures:
- White button — mild and versatile.
- Cremini — firm and flavorful.
- Portobello — rich and meaty.
- Oyster — mild and sweet.
- Shiitake — savory and satisfying.
- Chanterelle — nutty and delicate.
- Morel — intense and earthy.
- Porcini — robust and woodsy.
- White Truffle — delicate and aromatic.
- Black Truffle — fragrant and flavorful.
Want to give a few kinds of mushrooms a try at once? Try this recipe from Whole Foods Market for Mushroom and Gruyere Quiche, which serves 6-8 people:
- 1/4 pound cremini mushrooms, cut into quarters or eighths, depending on size
- 1/4 pound portobello mushroom caps, diced
- 1/4 pound shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and discarded, cut into quarters
- 1/2 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 frozen 9-inch pie crust, thawed
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 2 eggs
- 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
- 4 ounces gruyère cheese, shredded (about 1 1/2 cups)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a large bowl, toss mushrooms with onion, olive oil, salt and pepper. Place on a rimmed baking sheet in a single layer. Roast for about 15 minutes, or until cooked and firm. Remove from oven and set aside.
- Prick pie shell all over with a fork. Pre-bake shell for 10 to 15 minutes, until lightly browned. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F.
- Whisk together heavy cream and eggs with 1 tablespoon thyme, salt and pepper. In a large bowl, combine roasted mushrooms, onion, gruyere and remaining thyme. Spread mixture in the bottom of the pie shell evenly.
- Pour cream-egg mixture over the mushroom mixture, ensuring the mushroom mixture is covered. Bake 45 to 55 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Unbutton your wild side in the kitchen by adding mushrooms to your favorite holiday dish.