Traditionally, edible mushrooms belong to the fall season. The best are those picked in the wild, but the mushrooms from a specialized grower are also amazing. Although many people consider mushrooms seasonal, many can be purchased fresh all year round.
Mushrooms hold a powerful position not only in our kitchens but also in gastronomy. Recipes for their processing and favorite dishes are endless. In gastronomy, both traditional and untraditional mushrooms have their place. Summer ceps are a popular ingredient in mushroom risotto. Special shiitake mushrooms, the oyster mushroom, the king trumpet mushroom, chanterelles, yellow morels, or less common grayish and increasingly popular horn of plenty mushroom can take your culinary experience to the next level. Urban mushroom farms have recently begun to emerge in Slovakia, producing less traditional species in addition to the more well-known ones. In the coming years, for example, the lion’s mane, maitake, reishi, shimeji, enoki, and others are attractive to more and more people.
Cooking with Mushrooms
Fresh or dried mushrooms are an important ingredient in the preparation of soups, but especially sauces. While morels or summer ceps are available fresh mainly in fall (in dried form all year round), other species, such as common mushrooms, oyster mushrooms, and shiitake, are sold all year round. In addition to their excellent taste, summer ceps and morels (and truffles) provide a typical mushroom aroma, which is even more intense after drying. Modern gastronomy still makes extensive use of traditional champignons. These mushrooms have long been among the most popular in Slovakia. Champignons perfectly fine-tune the taste of broths but also gravies for poultry or veal. Similarly, fresh or dried ceps and morels are a proven spicy ingredient in gravies for venison and meat. The rarer truffle is used for beef tenderloin.
Many people find it tempting to try a truffle at least once in a lifetime. Many experts and gourmets refer to truffle as the king of mushrooms. It is a rare and deliciously tasting mushroom with a marble-like flesh. Unfortunately, it isn’t easy to find them. There are almost 300 species of truffles, but only a few are edible. It is mainly a white truffle and black truffle. The truffle comes from southern France but also grows in Italy, Spain, Hungary, and Turkey. It is also cultivated artificially in many other places. After digging it out of the soil, you must use it quickly because it loses its excellent properties. The Shiite mushroom is more accessible, cheaper, and perhaps more beneficial in vitamin content.
Currently, it is even the most artificially grown mushroom after champignons. It comes from Japan and China and is not only tasty but also allegedly medicinal – it contains many vitamins, minerals, and valuable natural elements. The taste and aroma resemble forest mushrooms, typically white to white-brown flesh and a brown-red cap. This mushroom must not be washed in water; its quality would be reduced. You can buy it all year round in supermarkets and prepare it in many ways. Probably the most typical use is in preparing Asian dishes, which can be used with meat (poultry and lamb), vegetables, fish, and seafood. However, you can also use it in soups, gravies, risotto, and stir-fry. Shitake can also be dried and thus used all year round.
Text: Daniel Košťál, photo: pexels.com