Besides the button mushroom, Shiitake is the most widely cultivated mushroom in the world. And not without reason. It’s thick meaty texture and smoky, peppery, almost garlic-like taste is like no other. It goes well with pasta, in soups, stir-fries, in stews and with eggs. Reduced down it also makes great sauces to accompany meats, and takes on a form which can only be described as being similar to bacon when sliced thin, brushed with oil & soy sauce and roasted on a high temperature in the oven.
Otherwise known as the ‘Royal Trumpet’ or ‘French Horn’, this really is the king of the oyster mushroom family and quite unlike all the others. A large meaty mushroom, it has a rich, almond-like flavour and can be adapted to a large range of dishes. The whole mushroom (including stem) can be cooked and it goes particularly well in Italian dishes. It’ll transform stir-fries and soups and is a fine accompaniment to lamb, pork & fish. It’s also great sliced and laid above hot coals on a barbeque.
The spectacular colour of the Golden Oyster Mushroom makes this one a real eye-stopper. More delicate than most, and pleasantly chewy in texture, this mushroom reveals a peppery, cashew nut-like flavour when well cooked. As with the King Oyster, this one goes particularly well with Italian food, especially pasta. As part of a mixture of exotic mushrooms, it’ll go well in most recipes, especially stir fries and soups. To make the most of their flamboyant colour, try steaming and using as a flavourful decoration in salads.
Elsewhere known as the Salmon Oyster or Pink Flamingo, this Pink cousin of the Golden Oyster is equally as stunning. Deriving from the tropics, these mushrooms fruit in large clusters and in a variety of shades of pink. Meaty in texture, they need thorough cooking (20 mins or so) to transform their initially tart flavour into something more nutty and slightly sweet. A versatile mushroom for many a recipe. It’s shelf life is short however, so enjoy it in it’s prime.
Also named the Hedgehog Mushroom, The Bearded Tooth Fungus or the Pom Pom Blanc, this is surely the most bizarre looking of the lot! It’s texture is like tender meat and the flavour, when cooked in butter, draws comparisons to lobster and crab. What this mushroom does best is in soaking up the flavours of whatever it is cooked with. Cook it in garlic, white wine, parsley and butter and it’ll really taste like it. In this way it can form a main component of a meal, instead or alongside meat & fish, or it tastes great with other ingredients in stir fries or pasta too.
- Brown Beech Mushroom (Buna Shimeji or The Brown Clamshell)
- White Beech Mushroom (Bunapi Shimeji or The White Clamshell)
- Velvet Pioppino (Black Poplar Mushroom)
Need some inspiration? Have a look at our recipes.