Mushrooms are 90 percent water. When cooked, some water evaporates, concentrating juices and intensifying flavor. Also, the longer mushrooms cook, the firmer they become.
To Sauté: Mushrooms must be dry, the fat hot, and the skillet large enough so they are not crowded. For each four ounces of mushrooms, melt 1/2 tablespoon butter or heat 1/2 tablespoon oil in a large skillet. Add mushrooms and sauté only until golden and released mushroom liquid has evaporated. If mushrooms are overcrowded, they will steam rather than brown.
To Roast: Drizzle mushrooms with olive oil; season with salt and pepper. Bake uncovered at 400 degrees F in a single layer, about 20 minutes, until brown, stirring occasionally.
To Grill or Broil: Preheat grill or broiler. Prepare mushrooms as you would for roasting. Arrange on skewers or on the rack of a grill or broiler pan. Cook two inches from heat, brushing occasionally with melted butter or oil, until golden, three to four minutes.
To Smoke: Smoked mushrooms are not actually cooked. To smoke whole or sliced mushrooms, follow the smoker manufacturer’s directions. If desired, sauté smoked mushrooms briefly and use as a side dish or topping for steaks, chicken, seafood, etc. convection oven cooking: Preheat convection oven to 375 degrees F. Place two pounds mushroom caps on a lightly oiled 13 x 18-inch sheet pan. Brush caps lightly with oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for three to five minutes. Note: Convection cooking yields a more succulent product, with less shrinkage.
Purchasing, Storage and Handling
Fresh mushroom producers use state-of-the-art growing methods and handling practices to ensure high quality. A few simple steps will help preserve your supplies.
- For optimum shelf life, mushrooms should arrive between 34 -38 degrees F.
- Immediately refrigerate both bulk and pre-packaged mushrooms between 34 -38 degrees F.
- Optimum humidity: 85 -90 percent — also helps maintain quality and shelf life.
- Store in original containers. Do not store in non-porous plastic bags, as plastic accelerates mushroom deterioration.
- Do not store near pungent items as mushrooms may absorb strong odors.
- Do not stack heavy items on top of mushroom containers.
- Do not wash before storage.
- When ready to use, brush off any dirt with a damp cloth or soft brush. Rinse only brieﬂy under running water and pat dry. Never soak them, as they absorb moisture.
- Trim the end of the stem before using