Available all year round, mushrooms add a magic flavour to both Asian and Western dishes.
If buying loose, look for firm mushrooms without any soft patches. If buying prepacked, always check the base of punnets for excess moisture, as these should be avoided. As a rule, mushrooms should be firm and dry!
COMMON MUSHROOMS are known as buttons (still joined at the stem), cups (larger than buttons but with caps still closed), and flats (fully open but still firm). When they’re fully matured, they’re meaty and the strongest tasting. ENOKI These long-legged mushrooms have a ball shape at one end. They have a very delicate flavour and texture. OYSTER Shaped like an oyster, these have a delicate flavour and pale colour.
SHIITAKE These can be fresh or dried. If dried, they’ll need to be rehydrated in warm water before using. Also known as the Japanese mushroom, they’re used extensively in Asian cuisine.
SWISS BROWN These have a robust flavour and brown skin. Fully matured Swiss browns are sometimes called portobello mushrooms.
Mushrooms need very little preparation. Some people like to peel mushrooms, which is unnecessary. They just need a wipe with damp paper towel.
Refrigerate all mushrooms, but not in plastic, as plastic makes them sweat. It’s best to pop them in a brown paper bag in the fridge for up to five days.