Mushrooms offer so much flexibility when it comes to cooking for yourself and others. Try these three mushroom recipes to impress any guest!
There’s a case to be made for mushrooms being the world’s most extraordinary food―at least among those so commonly used and recognized by cultures across the globe. There’s a good chance one’s growing somewhere near you right now, whether it’s a delicious source of plant-based protein, a deadly poison, or a mind-bending ingredient more suited to shamanic rituals and music festivals than sauteing on your stove. Of course, the focus here is on the edible sort―specifically the delicious and nutritious variety available in your local grocery store!
One of the best things about cooking mushrooms is how they can just as easily be either the star of the show or part of a perfectly assembled support cast. A large portobello makes a solid burger patty just as well as it adds edge to a gravy. If you’re just buying one vegetable, you can be sure mushrooms will pair beautifully with whatever else lies in your pantry. Even the humble potato can’t boast such versatility.
Mushrooms are also a great starting point when seeking inspiration for dinner party ideas. Their texture is meaty enough to satisfy omnivores at a vegetarian or vegan dinner, but aren’t so meaty that they can’t complement actual meat as a simple side dish. They’re incredibly easy to cook in a multitude of ways, but also have enough variety to offer even the most imaginative chefs room to experiment with new flavors and textures. Cooking mushrooms, as the old saying goes, takes minutes to learn and a lifetime to master.
Aside that saves you time
If you’re looking to impress guests without spending too much time over your stove, why are you still making vegetables and gravy separately? Just combine the two and pour your vegetables straight over that juicy slab of meat.
A Marsala mushroom sauce doesn’t just keep pork chops succulent, it also gives them just enough kick to appease fans of spicy dining. You can even add chili flakes to the meat seasoning if it’s that kind of dinner.
Either way, this recipe works best with enough sauce that the mushrooms ooze round the plate. While it makes a great low-carb meal on its own, you should consider serving the chops with pasta or white bread to mop up the last of those creamy mushrooms. If you do so while entertaining, however, be warned that guests might not have room for dessert after this! Keep it light and don’t spend much time making something overly elaborate.
The Italian people pleaser
Risotto is a great dinner party food. Everyone will be impressed by your effort―they know it takes plenty of time and patience―but it isn’t really an effort at all. Pour yourself a glass of wine, put your favorite podcast on, and start slowly stirring. Oh, and mushrooms could have been made for it!
Still not convinced that risotto is one of the best dinner party foods out there? It works equally well as a main or a starter, has subtle enough flavors to work well between mismatched courses, pairs excellently with almost any white wine, and, better still, any leftovers can be rolled up and fried into mouth-watering Arancini the next day.
If you do want to serve mushroom risotto as a single meal or main course, you could also try elaborating by topping it off with grilled asparagus or chicken.
For any time of day
Whether a starter, snack, or even a light meal, few foods can match slices of good bread layered with thick pate. Given how pates change the texture of meat so drastically, it’s somewhat surprising that this is one of those areas where vegan alternatives really struggle to compete. But there are exceptions.
This wild mushroom terrine isn’t trying to taste like meat, and that’s where it succeeds. Instead, it does the job that a pate of terrine should do (spread smooth and fatty over soft, fluffy bread) while providing a smoky, nutty flavor that’s all its own. It works as an excellent starter to any vegan dinner, but also for occasions when you’d rather not precede a meat main course with even more meat.
In any case, you’re going to want to smother that on some good bread, and there’s no bread more certain to impress your guests than the bread you’ve baked yourself. If you’re inexperienced with baking, you might want to start with a flatbread, such as a simple pita or Sicilian carasau recipe. Or if you’re feeling confident, why not try your hand at baking olive bread? All go well with this wild mushroom terrine.
Hopefully, these recipes helped you understand just how versatile mushrooms can be. When planning a dinner, building any or all courses around these fascinating fungi is an easy way to get started. And if you’re looking to get creative, there’s a huge variety out there for you to play with.