It appears we’ve been cooking mushrooms the wrong way all these years, according to a fine-dining chef turned mushroom scientist.
There are plenty of ‘rules’ about cooking mushrooms that we’ve learned over the years. One is that the mushrooms should never touch water, they should be brushed and cleaned dry before being sautéed in butter.
But that could all be out the window now, thanks to Jim Fuller, a Texan chef now living in Victoria, Australia, who shared a video online explaining why boiling mushrooms is the correct way to cook them.
Fuller should know. He’s a chef who has worked as a mycologist for the last 12 years, and spent years researching the very best way to cook mushrooms to optimise flavour and nutrition.
Any kind of mushrooms can be cooked using the Fuller method for a "delicious, earthy, meaty" flavour. Mushrooms are boiled to the right consistency, then olive oil is added.
"First, boil to perfection. It's just like cooking pasta until it's al dente. You see if [the mushrooms] have a good bite to it. If it’s got too much of a chew, then put in some water and cook it for a little bit longer."
"When perfectly tender, let the water evaporate until the pan is basically dry... once the water is all dry and sizzling, add some olive oil," he said.
Finally, he adds aromatic ingredients such as shallots and garlic.
"I'm frying and cooking the outside of the mushrooms... They're all intact, they're not going to go mush," he said.
"Quick sauté or stir fry and season to taste with salt."
Other time-honoured ways of cooking mushrooms
The classic way to cook mushrooms is sautéing them in butter. The key to this technique is to allow the mushrooms to brown evenly without allowing them to burn. For a recipe that puts the flavour and texture of mushrooms cooked in butter on full display, try a creamy risotto with forest mushrooms lightly fried in clarified butter.
Roasting mushrooms is best done in a hot oven (about 450 degrees Fahrenheit) and with oil and herbs for flavour and to keep the mushrooms from sticking. Some advocate for draining the water that leeches out from the mushrooms about halfway through the baking process to keep them from becoming soggy. For a great appetiser using this technique, how about porcini mushrooms stuffed with parmesan, garlic, and other spices?
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