Musings on cooking for the mycophagist

For the mycophagists among us… just wanted to share my new favorite method of preparing mushrooms – roasted!  It’s incredibly easy and can be used as the basis for side dishes or even the main part of a vegetarian meal.  This method can be used with either whole or sliced mushrooms, but using whole or large chunks really looks beautiful, and the end result is that you have a big meaty chunk of mushroom that is crispy on the edges and tender in the middle.  Most fleshy mushrooms are suitable for this.  My favorites are maitake, oyster, and shitake, but even store bought cremini or white buttons work very well.  You can even use dried and rehydrated mushrooms so you can enjoy this with your stash from the fall.

The basic recipe is to preheat the oven to between 400 and 450 degrees, and I like to also preheat the pan at the same time.  Use a large rimmed baking pan such as a jellyroll style pan or large cast iron skillet.  Cut the mushrooms to desired size or leave whole.  Mix about 1.5 lbs of mushrooms with ¼ cup of olive oil or clarified butter in a bowl, and season to taste with salt and pepper.  Take heated pan out of the oven, dump in the mixture, arrange pieces is a single layer, and pop back into the oven. Total roasting time is 20-30 minutes depending on the size of the chunks.  Stir or flip the mushrooms about half way through cooking to get both sides crispy.  If the mushrooms are giving off a lot of liquid, you can pour off the excess and return the pan to the oven to finish.  Save the cooking liquid for another use, it’s really flavorful.

Seasoning variation are endless.  Thyme and rosemary are my favorite herbs to add to the mushrooms as they roast.  Chives and parsley are best if sprinkled on top after cooking.  If you want to use garlic, either use whole peeled cloves from the beginning, or add chopped garlic at the half way point so the pieces don’t get burned and bitter. Smoked salt adds another layer of dimension to the dish.  Serve as is, or even top with sour cream or a fried egg.

True to my promise form the fall foray, I would like to share with everyone the recipe for Phyllis Grimm’s “The Old Woodsman’s Oyster Mushroom and Onion Soup.”  This is a mushroomy version of French onion soup, and is a special treat if topped with a slice of toasted French bread and cheese, then browned under the broiler.

The Old Woodsman’s Oyster Mushroom and Onion Soup

  • 3 onions sliced and halved.
  • 4 T butter or margarine
  • 4 cups beef consume or well-seasoned vegetable broth
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 cups dried oyster or maitake mushrooms (or others)

Melt butter in a stock pot.  Add onions and cook on medium for 30 minutes or until they are tender and starting to caramelize.  Stir occasionally.  Add mushrooms, broth, and Worcestershire sauce.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat.  Cover and simmer for 30 minutes making sure mushrooms are completely tender.

Makes about 6 one cup servings.

There you have it. This is extremely adaptable, and can be up scaled for a crowd. Using a really flavorful broth or stock is key.   At the foray, I used the fresh maitake Walt had given me a few days before, and roasted it as described above before adding to the soup.

Hope these ideas help keep you warm until summer.

-Sharon Greenberg

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One thought on “Musings on cooking for the mycophagist

  1. What a fabulous idea!! I love eating roasted vegetables, but never really considered roasting as a primary way to prepare mushrooms!
    Thanks!

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