Q: I like the taste of mushrooms, but the texture kills me. When cooked, they take on almost a ... rubbery consistency to me. I was wondering if anyone has suggestions for a specific type of mushroom or type of preparation so that I can tolerate the texture better?
Sent by Whitney
Editor: Fascinating! I'm happy to hear you do enjoy mushrooms from a flavor standpoint, because they're a great, savory umami-booster in the kitchen.
I have a few questions for you, though.
Are you using fresh mushrooms? If so, you've got to be particularly aware of liquid levels while cooking. Fresh cremini, portabella, and button mushrooms contain a great deal of moisture and will release that liquid during cooking. You've got to wait it out a bit, but if you continue to the cook the mushrooms, they will reabsorb that liquid. I'm no fan of a soggy mushrooms either (but really, who is?) so I cook sliced mushrooms over very high heat in hot fat and wait to season them until the process of sweating and reabsorbing the liquid has come and gone. When I do finally add the garlic, or thyme, or balsamic vinegar, the mushrooms are already deeply colored.
So high heat and making sure you're watching the liquid will steer you clear of rubbery mushrooms. Your other option is to experiment with mushrooms as a flavor enhancer. It's one way to think of them until you figure out a preparation that appeals to your textural dispositions.
- Blitz mushrooms in the blender or food processor until they're very finely chopped. Sauté with a bit of olive oil and garlic and throw them into you next meaty tomato sauce or chili.
- Sauté the mushrooms with a bit of fat and your aromatics of choice, then blend them into a soup.
Any other tips for Whitney, Kitchn readers?