There's not 'mushroom' for argument when it comes to the popularity of this fungi, Our language is sprinkled with 'mushroom wisdom'. Author Katherine Mansfield once wrote “If only one could tell true love from false love as one can tell mushrooms from toadstools” And there’s British designer and journalist, Shirley Conran's, "Life is too short to stuff a mushroom."
Well, New Zealanders love affair with mushrooms is real. We spend over 37 million dollars on mushrooms each year.
White buttons, (sometimes called champignon de Paris), Swiss browns (brown buttons) and Portabellos (brown flats) are all members of the Agaricus Bisporus family. In Europe, Swiss browns are sometimes called Italian browns and in the United States they are known as crimini.
The more exotic mushrooms — sometimes available in supermarkets — include shiitake with their brown meaty caps and distinctive flavour. Add shiitake to soups, stews and casseroles as they hold their shape well. Dried shiitake mushrooms are also available from Asian food stores and delis. They should be soaked in warm water before use.
The oyster mushroom or Phoenix Tail, has the silken texture and colour reminiscent of an oyster. It is excellent served raw in salads, lightly cooked in sauces and stir-fries, or combined with pasta or seafood.
Once you remove mushrooms from their original packaging, store them in a paper bag in the vegetable container in the refrigerator to prevent them sweating. Good quality cultivated mushrooms need little preparation. Just give them a wipe with a damp cloth if they’re a bit dirty, or brush them with a soft mushroom brush and trim the stems if necessary.
Makes a delicious starter, side dish or light meal served with a salad and crunchy bread. Get the recipe
For extra flavour, add some dried and reconstituted mushrooms eg shiitake and/or porcini. Get the recipe
This soup will keep, covered, in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Reheat gently. Get the recipe