A mushroom is a ‘fun guy” (fungi).

From button to crimini, mushrooms are delicious and versatile with almost any meal. Whether they are cooked in a sauce or used in a fresh summer salad, mushrooms are a great added component. They are unique in their own way being neither animal or plant, but are in a classification all their own called Eumycota or “The True Fungi”.

Each mushroom is unique with its own flavor and texture. The type of mushrooms that are edible are packed with nutritional goodness such as potassium, phosphorus, and protein. They are often sold in three varieties: fresh, canned/jarred, or dried. The taste and flavor of the mushroom depends on the genus and can range anywhere from light and subtle like that of the white mushroom to bold and peppery that you get from the shiitake.

Chefs often order different varieties of wild mushrooms such as morels and the oyster mushroom to use in special dishes. These wild mushrooms have more of an earthy and nutty flavor than that of cultivated ones. Mushrooms like these can be found in fresh, dried, or canned varieties.

When looking for a perfect “fun guy” (fungi) to use in cooking, they should be clear of any spots or blemishes, as well as, clean. If they are dirty, gently dust them off with a dry towel. It is sufficient to rinse mushrooms with water also, but if mushrooms are allowed to soak up water they will start to deteriorate. If water is used to clean them, allow them to dry on a towel before using them in cooking.

Since mushrooms are served as a vegetable, any cooking technique will work. However when sauteing, be careful to not crown a lot of mushrooms in a pan. Mushrooms are happier when they are spread out in a pan not touching each other. This will ensure even cooking and browning.

Chicken Breast with Mushroom Shallot Cream Sauce

2 4oz chicken breasts
2 Tsp olive oil
2Tsp shallot, finely chopped
2Tsp garlic, finely chopped
2oz white mushrooms, sliced thin
1oz dry white wine
16oz chicken stock
8oz heavy cream
as needed-kosher salt and white pepper

1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. In a saute pan, heat olive oil on medium high heat
3. Season both sides of chicken breast with kosher salt.
4. Add chicken breasts to pan, skin side down.
5. Brown both sides of the breast, 3-4 minutes each side, then transfer to a oven safe pan and put in the oven. Cook until it reaches an internal temperature of 165F.
6. Pour off some of the fat from the saute pan. Add in the shallot and garlic and saute until soft.
7. Add in the mushrooms. Be careful to not crowd them in the pan. Saute until soft.
8. Deglaze the pan with the white wine and reduce until all the wine is gone.
9. Add in the chicken stock and reduce by half.
10. Add in the heavy cream. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium. Cook until the sauce is thick and coats the back of a spoon. Season with kosher salt and white pepper to taste.
11. When chicken is done add back into the pan with the sauce and coat each breast with some of the sauce. Serve immediately.

Roasted Mushrooms

2Tsp olive oil
9 cloves of garlic
as needed-kosher salt
1Tsp crushed red pepper
1lb of mushrooms (any type)
juice of one lemon

1. Preheat oven to 350
2. Heat a saute pan on medium high heat. Add oil after a minute.
3. Add all ingredients in order to saute pan. Toss and until incorporated. Put in oven and roast for 20 minutes or until brown.

Risotto with roasted mushrooms

1oz olive oil
2oz dry white wine
16oz arborio rice
48oz hot chicken stock
roasted mushrooms (from above recipe), chopped
1oz heavy cream
2Tsp butter
4oz Parmesan-reggiano cheese

1. Heat a pot on the stove on medium high heat.
2. Add in olive oil.
3. Add in arborio rice and coat.
4. Add in wine. Cook until the wine has evaporated.
5. Add in mushrooms.
6. Pour in 8 ounces of stock and stir until absorbed. Continue this process of adding in stock, 8 oz at a time, and stir until you use all of the stock.
7. Finish with cream, butter, and cheese.
8. Season to taste and serve’.

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