We are often told that frying mushrooms in butter is the best and only way to cook mushrooms. However, there are in fact many ways to cook them, and they all get great results. Grilling, baking, frying, sautéing and boiling are all great ways to prepare and cook mushrooms, no matter what kind they are. Just make sure they are fresh and clean, and of course that they are verified as edible mushrooms and you can explore all these different ways to cook them.
How to sauté mushrooms
The tried and tested way to cook mushrooms involves cooking them in a pan with olive oil and butter for a short time. Make sure the mushrooms are clean - wipe dirt off with a damp towel, wash them lightly and dry them immediately. Cut larger mushrooms into smaller pieces so that they are all roughly the same size. Don’t since the mushrooms too thinly as they will shrink up when cooking.
Heat the pan or wok to medium heat. Add a nob of butter and a drizzle of oil. When the oil and butter begin to smoke slightly, add the mushrooms. Cook for 10 – 15 minutes, until the mushrooms lose their moisture and begin to caramelise. Do not overload the pan, but cook the mushrooms in small batches. Overloading the pan is the most common mistake when sautéing mushrooms. Add salt and pepper for flavour. And add any herbs or spices you wish towards the end - flat leaf parsley works very well.
How to fry mushrooms
Clean your mushrooms and cut them into equal slices keeping the head and the stalk intact. Keep the thickness the same for each slice. Take a frying pan and add a drizzle of vegetable oil. Turn to medium heat and, when the oil is smoking, add the mushrooms and cover the pan. Allow to cook for five minutes without moving them. Flip the mushrooms over and cook them on the other side.
How to grill mushrooms
You can grill mushrooms on the barbecue or under the grill in your kitchen. Marinated mushrooms are best marinated before cooking, but you can cook them as they are also. For barbecuing, use larger mushrooms like Portobello. Make sure your grate is clean and brush with oil before cooking. Brush on sauce or seasoning as they cook. Smaller mushrooms will work better under the grill in your kitchen and can be placed in a cast-iron skillet under the grill. Grill the mushrooms on both sides for 5-6 minutes, however, check them regularly to see when they are caramelised, as they can easily be overcooked and come out dry.
How to roast mushrooms
Spread the mushrooms on a roasting tray and drizzle with olive oil. Add herbs such as rosemary, sage or thyme. Roast on medium-to-high heat, checking to make sure the mushrooms don’t dry out. If they do, add a touch of stock to the tray. When they are cooked, remove and deglaze the tray, and reduce and pour over the mushrooms.
How to boil mushrooms
Many don’t know that boiling is one of the best ways to cook mushrooms. Simply boil the mushrooms in as little water as possible. You want to ensure that the water boils off just as the mushrooms are reaching an al dente state. As soon as the water is gone and the mushrooms have a nice bite to them, add some olive oil. Fry the mushrooms until they are caramelised on the outside. They will be lovely and tender on the inside.
How to cook mushrooms in the microwave
Cooking mushrooms in the microwave is very easy, and while it won’t enhance the flavours of the mushrooms, the method is very effective. Simply place the mushrooms in a microwave-proof dish with a lid. Cut larger mushrooms into smaller, equal-sized pieces; smaller mushrooms can be kept whole. If you want the flavour enhanced, you can add seasoning, salt and pepper, or garlic butter, for example. The mushrooms should be cooked in about 2-3 minutes, stirring at least one time during cooking. You can cook the mushrooms in 30-minute bursts, checking them at the end of each burst.
Different mushrooms are best cooked in different ways. Size matters, in that larger mushrooms require a longer cooking time, but can also be stuffed, marinated and baked or roasted. Smaller mushrooms work better in the pan, fried or sautéed. The trick is to reduce the amount of moisture in the mushroom without allowing them to dry out. Caramelisation of the outside improves the flavour.