Calling All Mushroom Lovers
For those of us who love mushrooms—quite a few of us, thank you very much—there are never enough mushroom recipes in which these forest vegetables take center stage. Mushroom lovers don’t want “mushroom pizza” to mean “pizza with mushrooms on top.” They want it to mean “the entire pizza is made of mushrooms.” Or at least they want it to mean that there are a <i>lot</i> of mushrooms on top.
Even plain-old button mushrooms can handle the spotlight; they’re high in umami, the I-never-quite-understand-what-it-is “fifth flavor” that imparts a nutty, kind of savory taste to food. Cremini and portobello, which used to seem so exotic, are really the same variety as the buttons–just darker and/or bigger. In the past few years, wild mushrooms have become so familiar they hardly seem unusual at all. These days, in fact, they’re all mostly cultivated. And because mushroom lovers don’t just want a lot of mushrooms but a lot of different <i>kinds</i> of mushrooms, you’ll want to try every one of these recipes.
There’s never been a bad stuffed ‘shroom, but these portobello mini-pizzasmake a delightful change from the norm. The mushroom is the “crust” (speaking of mushroom pizzas!), and it’s topped with spinach, cheese, and pepperoni. Replace the pepperoni with bacon if you want, or delete it entirely to make a veggie appetizer.
Here’s a wonderfully rich-tasting topping for baked potatoes. (The ragu would work over polenta as well.) You can use any kind of mushrooms you like, in whatever proportions you like.
Kids are often mushroom-resistant, but they rarely turn down a nice gooey quesadilla! If your children are adventurous eaters, they’ll love these cheesy triangles. If not, you could leave the mushrooms out of the kids’ portion–all the more for you.
Most mushroom soups are creamy and filling. Here’s a different take–a light, clear mushroom soup made tangy with miso and scallions.
Grilled portobellos are the simplest–and actually, the meatiest-tasting–burger substitute, but they can be a bit bland. Not here, though! Marinating the mushrooms in red wine enriches the taste and improves the texture to elevate these “burgers” high above most frozen veggie patties.
If you haven’t grown up with gnocchi, it’s sometimes hard to know what to do with them. This main dish tosses them with mushrooms (both dried and fresh), asparagus, and tiny sweet peas. A perfect spring meal!
You’ve got to have a nice, comforting mushroom-cheese casserole—the kind with crispy crumbs on top—in your arsenal. This gratin can be made ahead and transported to a Fourth of July party, a Thanksgiving dinner, really, any place you feel like making people happy.
Although home cooks are sometimes scared of phyllo, it’s easy to work with—and it always yields a dramatic result. This novel technique layers the pastry with olive oil and bread crumbs instead of the traditional melted butter, making for a healthy, beautiful tart that can be served as either an appetizer or a main dish.
Go wild with mushrooms and all vegetables for pizza!