Roasted Wild Mushrooms

By Ann Fulton

Jump to recipe
The simplest of ingredients and a straightforward technique transform earthy mushrooms into a meaty, savory, satisfying dish that can be enjoyed in so many ways. And though wild mushrooms are widely available and contribute interest and textural variety, this hands-off technique will make the most of basic button mushrooms.

The simplest of ingredients and a straightforward technique transform earthy mushrooms into a meaty, savory, satisfying dish that can be enjoyed in so many ways. And though wild mushrooms are widely available and contribute interest and textural variety, this hands-off technique will make the most of basic button mushrooms.

 

 

 

 

When I shared the recipe for Roasted Beet and Green Bean Salad last year, I included a list of the top 10 polarizing foods. I was certain beets would have made the entertaining list, but they didn’t.

Mushrooms, however, were number nine. 

So it’s likely that for everyone who reads this post and thinks, “YUM, mushrooms!”, there’s someone else who is thinking the opposite. My younger son was firmly planted in the latter camp for most of his life. 

If you are like him, however, and I told you that roasting mushrooms and experimenting with some widely available wild varieties won him over, would you be just the tiniest bit tempted to try?  

Everyone else in my family has long enjoyed the savory flavor and meaty texture of mushrooms, but there is a trick to bringing out those qualities.

When cooked long enough, mushrooms’ moisture will render, and what some think of as a tasteless, spongy vegetable, will transform into something entirely different. 

I used to sauté mushrooms most of the time, and still do from time to time. But in the last year I came to truly appreciate the benefits of roasting, because it achieves the same delicious result in a more hands-off way. 

The simplest of ingredients and a straightforward technique transform earthy mushrooms into a meaty, savory, satisfying dish that can be enjoyed in so many ways. And though wild mushrooms are widely available and contribute interest and textural variety, this hands-off technique will make the most of basic button mushrooms.

Fun fact: mushrooms are 92 percent water.

In order to caramelize the mushrooms, concentrate their flavor, and create a satisfying meaty texture, most of that moisture must be cooked off. Though not difficult, that can mean standing by the stove for a while.

With roasting, we can simply toss the chopped mushrooms with olive oil, salt and pepper and pop them in the oven. That’s it! What comes out of the oven may have shrunk by 50% in volume (you won’t cook out all the moisture), but the end result will taste 300% more amazing.

The simplest of ingredients and a straightforward technique transform earthy mushrooms into a meaty, savory, satisfying dish that can be enjoyed in so many ways. And though wild mushrooms are widely available and contribute interest and textural variety, this hands-off technique will make the most of basic button mushrooms.

Oyster mushrooms appeal to many who aren’t typically wild about mushrooms because their taste is very mild. Some describe it as mildly nutty or like seafood. The texture of these mushrooms offers wide appeal, too, as they have a meaty texture when prepared properly.

 

While plain old button mushrooms are fair game and benefit tremendously from this process, so many other varieties are now widely available and fun to try.

Oyster mushrooms, chanterelles, shitakes, portobellas, and creminis (also known as baby bellas) are all good options. My very favorites, when available, are oyster mushrooms, described in the photo caption, above, and maitake mushrooms. The fringy edges of the latter crisp up in the oven and are truly a treat. Using a mix of mushrooms is always fun, too. 

The simplest of ingredients and a straightforward technique transform earthy mushrooms into a meaty, savory, satisfying dish that can be enjoyed in so many ways. And though wild mushrooms are widely available and contribute interest and textural variety, this hands-off technique will make the most of basic button mushrooms.

 

What’s the best way to store mushrooms?

For the longest shelf life, mushrooms are best stored in the refrigerator in their original packaging, which is generally designed to allow for some air flow, or in a paper bag. If fresh when purchased, most mushroom varieties will keep for up to a week in the refrigerator. Fresh mushrooms should not be frozen. I have not frozen cooked mushrooms but have read that they may be frozen for up to one month . 

How to prepare mushrooms for cooking?

It’s always a good idea to chop off and discard any woody or dry stem pieces. That said, fresh stems parts can be cooked and enjoyed just like the caps. When working with more traditional shapes like button and creminis, I half the mushrooms or quarter if they are large. (Very small mushrooms may be left whole.) When chopping more unusually shaped mushrooms, I simply aim to keep the overall size consistent.

Keep in mind the mushrooms will shrink by about 50% when roasted. So, depending on personal preference and how you’d like to use the mushrooms, you may adjust the size of your chop accordingly. 

To wash or not to wash mushrooms?

We so often hear that mushrooms should not be washed because they will act like a sponge and absorb too much water. But mushrooms can be dirty, sometimes very dirty. I always give mushrooms a quick wash and then promptly pat them dry. Any water that is absorbed is minimal and will cook out with the rest of the natural moisture, of which there is a lot.

 

The simplest of ingredients and a straightforward technique transform earthy mushrooms into a meaty, savory, satisfying dish that can be enjoyed in so many ways. And though wild mushrooms are widely available and contribute interest and textural variety, this hands-off technique will make the most of basic button mushrooms.

Specifics about a several popular varieties:

  • A special appeal of shitake mushrooms is that they will become crisp around the edges. Unlike other varieties with more tender stems, however, the shitake stems tend to be tough and are best discarded or reserved for stock. 
  • Oyster mushrooms have layers that look almost like petals, and instead of carefully chopping them to keep those petals intact, which you may do, I often peel back the layers. Once you try, you’ll see how easy it is. The fresh stem that remains can then be chopped easily.
  • King oyster mushrooms average between 10 to 15 centimeters in length, but don’t be fooled by the large stems, as the stalks are as tender as the proportionately small caps. Also, king oysters don’t lose their shape when cooked, and their texture is sometimes likened to scallops. Because king oyster mushrooms can be cut like steaks, they offer a versatile option for vegetarians and are often billed as mushroom steaks or vegan scallops on restaurant menus. 
  • Maitake mushrooms can be gently pulled apart by hand, too. I like to tear the fringy ends into clusters that resemble broccoli florets-only they aren’t green like broccoli, of course! The delicate ends become lightly crisp when roasted and are truly a treat.
  • Cremini mushrooms, also known as baby bellas, can best be described in conjunction with white button mushrooms and portobello mushrooms, which are all different stages of the same variety of mushroom known as Agaricus bisporus. Basic button mushrooms are the youngest of the three and are cultivated for their white color and soft texture. The more mature creminis have a slightly earthier taste, a delicate texture, and pale brown color. Portobellos are the most mature mushroom of the trio, and can be thought of as nothing more than an overgrown white mushroom! They are left to grow for a longer period of time, during which time the cap grows much larger and develops a chewy, meaty texture and a smoky, earthy flavor. 
The simplest of ingredients and a straightforward technique transform earthy mushrooms into a meaty, savory, satisfying dish that can be enjoyed in so many ways. And though wild mushrooms are widely available and contribute interest and textural variety, this hands-off technique will make the most of basic button mushrooms.

What do mushrooms pair well with? 

  • In the meat department, mushrooms complement bacon, steak, chicken, pork, veal, fish, and seafood in general. 
  • In the cheese department, mushrooms pair especially well with gruyere, fontina, and asiago cheese.
  • I love mixing mushrooms with other roasted vegetables, like potatoes (sweet and regular), onions, leeks, tomatoes, asparagus, broccoli, and cauliflower. Recently, I had some leftover roasted mushrooms and cauliflower and I placed them on a baking sheet, grated gruyere and fontina cheese overtop, and broiled just long enough to reheat the vegetables and melt the cheese. It was delicious! 
  • Mushrooms make a great addition to pasta…try tossing with pesto
  • They are delicious in chicken and wild rice soup
  • And on pizza and burgers
  • Cooked mushrooms will add a hearty note to green and grain-based salads. Top with an egg for added flavor and protein. Year ago, I enjoyed a memorable salad at a French bistro in Milford, PA that consisted of mixed greens and wild mushrooms that were lightly tossed with a sherry vinaigrette and topped with a poached egg. Simple yet divine. 
  • In the spice and herb category, I steer towards thyme, although chives, marjoram, dill, parsley, basil, oregano, and rosemary also complement nicely.
  • Condiments to consider when cooking with mushrooms include vinegar (like balsamic and sherry vinegar), wine, regular sherry, stocks and broths, cream, cream cheese or chèvre, and mustard. 
  • As a final idea, mushroom toast is easy, satisfying, and so flavorful. Simply toast a thick slice of bread, spread with a a layer of chèvre, pesto, or Dijon, and then top with roasted or sautéed mushrooms. Grate gruyere or fontina cheese generously overtop, and then broil until the cheese is bubbly. You could also top with a cooked egg, instead of or in addition to the cheese. This is a great way to make use of leftover cooked mushrooms. 
The simplest of ingredients and a straightforward technique transform earthy mushrooms into a meaty, savory, satisfying dish that can be enjoyed in so many ways. And though wild mushrooms are widely available and contribute interest and textural variety, this hands-off technique will make the most of basic button mushrooms.

Loaded with flavor and deliciously meaty, this incredibly easy recipe stands on its own as a side dish, although the mushrooms will add a burst of savory interest to so many things. They are great in burgers, mixed into pasta, rice, and other cooked grains, made into mushroom toast, and more.

    

Roasted Wild Mushrooms
Yield: 4 servings
Wild mushrooms are widely available and contribute interest and textural variety, but this hands-off technique will make the most of basic button mushrooms, transforming them into a meaty, savory, satisfying dish that can be enjoyed in so many ways.
Ingredients
  • 1 pound mix of mushrooms
  • 2 tablespoons olive or avocado oil
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Instructions

Preheat the oven to 425℉. Lightly oil or spray a large, rimmed baking sheet.

For button-shaped mushrooms, trim the stems and then cut them in half or quarter or thickly slice if large. Small mushrooms may be left uncut. For maitakes, separate into clumps about the size of broccoli florets. If using portobellos, scrape off the gills with a spoon and discard them. Then thickly slice the caps, cutting the caps in half first if you prefer smaller pieces.

Toss the mushrooms with the oil, salt and pepper. Roast until the mushrooms are browned and crisped around the edges, about 25-30 minutes, depending on oven and color of baking sheet. Quicker cooking tip: I have also roasted the mushrooms at 425℉ on my oven’s convection roast setting. In this case, they take 15 minutes in my oven and do have slightly enhanced caramelization. Either way, check a little early until you know how long they take in your oven.

A few more things...

If you peek midway through the cooking time, you’ll likely see a good bit of liquid on the baking sheet. This is normal, as the mushrooms first release much of their moisture and then this cooks off over time,

Mushrooms also take well to thyme, so adding a sprinkle of dried or fresh thyme along with the salt and pepper will add an extra hint of flavor.

The Fountain Avenue Kitchen https://fountainavenuekitchen.com/

 

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Comments

  1. Louise Post author

    This looks delicious. My daughter and I are getting more into a plant based diet and are eating more mushrooms so will definitely want to try this. I also appreciate your tip about the convection oven. I got a new range a year ago which has that feature, but I haven’t used it much because I’m not sure when to do it (and am too lazy to research it). So I’ll try it with this recipe.

    I always appreciate your recipes and thoughts on food. Thanks so much!

    Reply
    1. Ann Post author

      I’m delighted this looks good to you and that the timing is right for you and your daughter. These really add a meaty flavor and texture to so many things. I have a few more plant-based ideas coming soon that may appeal to you, so stay tuned!

      As for the oven, I know what you mean. I tend to use the more traditional settings for the sake of the blog, because I figure that’s what most readers do. However, I really like the results when using the roast and convect settings. Give them a try, and just check on the food early until you grow accustomed to how these settings change things. If you have questions, feel free to ask!

      Reply