(StatePoint) 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.
More cooking tips and recipes can be found at www.WholeFoodsMarket.com.
Unbutton your wild side in the kitchen by adding mushrooms to your favorite holiday dish.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Whole Foods Market