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Mushrooms Can Add Flair to Your Holiday Cooking

 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:

Cultivated

  • White button — mild and versatile.
  • Cremini — firm and flavorful.
  • Portobello — rich and meaty.
  • Oyster — mild and sweet.
  • Shiitake — savory and satisfying.

Wild

  • 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:

Ingredients

  • 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)

Directions

  • 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.

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