Mushrooms are one of the most widely consumed foods on the planet.
Traces of edible mushrooms have been found on nearly every continent, from the ancient Aztec cultures of Mexico to the remote shamans of frozen Siberia. The Roman empire considered them so tasty, they employed troops of men to source and taste mushrooms for the royal kitchen (making sure they were safe to eat, too).
Mushrooms are ubiquitous in our cuisine because they grow everywhere. Shitakes grow in Japan and China, oyster mushrooms are cultivated in Europe, and Cremini mushrooms are native to grasslands of North America.
Plus, they taste delicious. Mushrooms provide an earthy quality to most dishes, with a darker, richer, velvety texture. They ground flavors in a savory, salty presence.
It was the French who first introduced mushrooms into fine dining, understanding how fungi can lend savory flavor to creamy, decadent dishes. By the mid 19th century, Americans enjoyed all sorts of fungi as part of their diet, too.
Mushrooms also provide many health benefits. They are high sources of selenium, copper, and pantothenic acid - rare nutrients to find in other foods. And depending on the type of fungi, you can get other health benefits. Shitakes, for example, contain powerful antioxidants and cytoprotectants not found in many other foods.
TRY THESE TWO PREPS:
Sauté Maitake Mushrooms (also called “hen-of-the-woods”) on low heat in grassfed butter (or avocado oil for a vegan option). This will slowly unlock the flavor and give mushrooms a creamy texture. Crack an egg on top for added deliciousness.
Grill Shiitake Mushrooms on medium heat after marinating them in olive oil, salt, pepper, and thyme. This is a beautifully simple recipe!