The Fungal Gourmet

Mushrooms are a big hit in my household. A wonderful kitchen staple. Once you learn the proper care and cooking technique, the possibilities are endless. They can hold their own, you can use them to replace meat (which I did for 2 years) or combine them with other vegetables.

For those of you that are grossed out that they are a fungus, they actually have more in common with an apple than athletes foot. It is a fruiting body with a seed delivery device.

Mushrooms continue to breed post harvest. Locking it away in plastic is no good! They need to breathe. However, they dry out easily too. So, how do we store them properly? Glad you asked. Seal them in a paper bag in the refrigerator. This allows moisture to be held in while still allowing air to pass through. They will still go bad in 3-4 days, so buy them when you’re ready to use them. Don’t wash them until you’re ready to cook them.

Washing mushrooms…this is where battles and wars begin. To wash or not to wash, that is the question. After the results of the following experiment, you be the judge.

Not to wash argument: The mushrooms should never touch the water, washing them water logs the mushroom.

Wash argument: You would have to soak the mushrooms for an extended period of time before said mushroom could ever be “water logged”.

Scientific Experiment Results: After washing 2 lbs of mushrooms in water weighing them before and after water bath, the mushrooms retained 2oz of water. Hardly “water logged”. And frankly in my opinion, I’ll take the 2oz of water to get a better cleaning. But the decision is ultimately yours. Now how about some recipes??

 Start off by making some clarified butter, see recipe below
Wash or don’t wash your Cremini mushrooms, it’s up to you and set aside
Get out your Good Eats book
Wash or don’t wash your button mushrooms and pat dry
Pull off the caps
Drizzle on some Olive Oil
Toss with herbs
 Place them on a roasting or broiler pan
 Realize you put them upside down and correct the problem and roast them for 10 minutes
 Grab the Creminis you washed earlier, a handful at a time
 Heat the mushrooms in the clarified butter you made earlier, once they develop a deep color, make some room in the middle of  the pan and add more, be patient.
 The reason you add them to the center and move the cooked ones to the side is because the heat is more concentrated in the middle which allows the new mushrooms to cook quicker while not over cooking the ones added previously. Add more clarified butter as needed.
 Add shallots and deglaze with Cognac and finally add chives. This completes the Sauteed mushroom recipe
Now for the delicious part, add the heavy cream, parmesan, and bread crumbs to make this creamy mouth watering filling
Take the mushroom caps you already roasted, top them each with the filling above. Add some more bread crumbs to the top and broil for 3-4 minutes. Enjoy you will!

Clarified Butter
Printable Recipe


* 2 sticks (1/2 pound) unsalted butter, cut into pieces


Place the butter in a heavy saucepan and melt slowly over low heat. Remove the pan from the heat and let stand for 5 minutes.

Skim the foam from the top, and slowly pour into a container, discarding the milky solids in the bottom of pan.

What makes clarified butter so great is its higher smoke point. This means you can cook meats and fish at a higher temperature than you can with regular butter, making it ideal for pan-frying. By clarifying the butter during a slow cooking process, you’re able to strain out the milk solids that burn quickly as well as the water and salt. You’ll lose about 1/4 of your original butter amount during the process, and the clarified butter will keep, tightly covered in the refrigerator for about 1 month.
Recipe Courtesy of

The Fungal Saute
Printable Recipe

* 2 pounds cremini mushrooms, 1/4-inch sliced
* 2 tablespoons clarified butter
* Kosher salt and cracked black pepper
* 1 tablespoon minced shallots
* 1 1/2 ounces cognac
* 2 teaspoons fresh chopped chives

In a 10-inch heavy saute pan, heat 1 ounce of clarified butter over high heat. Add sliced mushrooms one handful at a time to saute pan. As mushrooms begin to develop rich, brown color, push them to the outside of the saute pan. Turn the mushrooms over as they begin to color. When pan becomes dry, add remaining clarified butter to the pan. Add another handful of mushrooms to the pan and continue until all mushrooms have been added. Season with salt and pepper after the last addition to the pan has been made.
Make a hole in the middle of the pan and add the shallots. Deglaze pan with cognac, scraping up any browned mushroom bits. Add the chives. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
Recipe Courtesy of
That Ol’ Cap Magic
Printable Recipe

For the filling:
* 1 batch Sauteed mushrooms
* 1/3 cup heavy cream
* 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan
* 1 teaspoon dried tarragon
* 1 to 2 tablespoons bread crumbs
For the mushroom caps:
* 10 large white mushroom caps
* Olive oil
* 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
* 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
* 2 cloves garlic, crushed
* Bread crumbs


Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large bowl, toss the mushroom caps with enough olive oil to coat the caps. Add the rosemary, thyme, and garlic and combine thoroughly.
Place a roasting rack on a baking sheet. On the baking sheet, turn the mushroom caps upside down, stem side facing up. Roast the mushroom caps up to 10 minutes, or until the tip of a paring knife can be inserted into the side of the mushroom with little or no resistance.
Heat broiler to high and move the oven rack up 1 level. Mound 1 tablespoon of filling into each mushroom cap, avoiding overstuffing the caps. Top each cap with enough bread crumbs to cover the filling. Broil the mushroom caps on high for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the filling bubbles and the tops have browned.
Recipe Courtesy of


2 thoughts on “The Fungal Gourmet

  1. Oh I love mushrooms! Interesting about the weighing for water retention. I vote for washing. I feel better, and that counts, right? Haha!
    BTW, I told my husband about your Good Eats section, we love Alton Brown, too.


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