Exploring Mushrooms : King Oyster, Brown Oyster, and Shiitake
What is a mushroom? The word mushroom comes from the French word for fungi and molds. Although it is reported that around the year 1650, a French melon grower found mushrooms growing on his fertilizer, mushrooms have been on the earth for millions of years. While there are over ten thousands of species of fungi, a smaller percentage of those are edible. Mushrooms grow easily in the wild and although they may look harmless, some species of wild mushrooms can be deadly. Ranging from human consumption to various medicinal and industrial uses, humans have incorporated mushrooms into their diet for years.
Mushrooms grow in every season of the year, but are most abundant during the Fall/ Autumn months, with the exception of Morels which grow during the Spring. Mushrooms are super nutrient-dense and contain great immune-boosting qualities. They are also low in calories but rich in selenium, copper, fiber, and iron, making mushrooms an integral part of any diet.
There are a wide variety of mushrooms with different flavor profiles and textures. Some mushrooms have their own distinct flavors, while others absorb the flavors of the ingredients around them. In need of a main dish or side to steal the show? Mushrooms have got you covered.
King Oyster and Brown Oyster:
Known affectionately as the King of Mushrooms, King Oyster mushrooms are native to the Mediterranean region, Asia and North Africa but are now cultivated worldwide. King Oyster mushrooms are hearty with a meaty flavor and texture. These mushrooms are savory, and less earthy than some of their cousins. Oyster mushrooms grow in clusters, stacked on top of one another, similar to an oyster bed. They can be sauteed, grilled, fried, and more.
Native to East Asia, Shiitake mushrooms have been used for culinary and medicinal purposes for hundreds of years. Shiitakes are extremely versatile and can be found in a variety of cuisines around the world. Fresh shiitake mushrooms have a rich, smoky flavor and meaty texture. Although most commonly used in Asian dishes, shiitake mushrooms taste great with dishes ranging from fish and steak to soups and pastas.
What to Pair Mushrooms With:
– Mushrooms with a firm texture: Cremini (Baby Bella), Oyster, Shiitake
– Sauteed steak with Mushrooms
– Oyster mushrooms pair well with seafood and white meats. The Oyster mushroom’s meaty texture lends well to frying, stir-fry, and braising.
Depends first upon the type of dish and the type of mushroom used, for example:
– Mushrooms in creamy sauce: Pairs great with Chardonnay
– Oyster/Shiitake: Pairs great with ripe, fruity reds like Pinot Noir and Merlot or light Riesling
– Baked or Stuffed: Pairs well with robust reds like Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, etc.
More Mushroom Recipes:
Polenta with Sausage and Mixed Mushrooms: https://www.jamesbeard.org/recipes/polenta-with-sausage-and-mixed-mushrooms
Chicken Grand-Mere Francine: https://www.jamesbeard.org/recipes/chicken-grand-mere-francine
Mushroom Tacos: https://www.jamesbeard.org/recipes/mushroom-tacos
Goomba Burger: https://www.jamesbeard.org/recipes/goomba-burger