Even the most enthusiastic of cooks would have cribbed (at least to themselves) about how a seafood meal that is devoured in no time takes over an hour of painstaking cleaning and preparation; and the most gorgeous-tasting lamb chops need to be marinated for hours. The mushroom, however, provides a quick-fix meal that comes with a gourmet flavour.
Mushrooms are a fairly low-maintenance ingredient, they only need to be washed and their stalks trimmed. Chop them into tiny pieces or slice them; fry, sauté or stir-fry; eat as a side dish or use them to top an entrée. The mushroom fits every part. Mushrooms are also popular as an ingredient in salads, soups, meat dishes and other main dishes.
Low fat: Mushrooms contain 80-90% water, making them ideal for people trying to lose weight.
Immunity: Mushrooms are being studied for their ability to inhibit tumour growth. International research continues to focus on mushrooms that may have hypoglycaemic, anti-cancer, anti-pathogenic and immune system-enhancing activity.
Cholesterol: Recent research has found that oyster mushrooms naturally contain the cholesterol-lowering drug Lovastatin.
Although it comes in scores of varieties—some even poisonous—the most popular one would be the button mushroom. Its delicate flavour works wonderfully in creamy soups and sauces (including our very own malai mushroom) and delicate sautées. The larger Portobello ones are often great with stuffing. In South Asia, there are spicyavatars in the form of the Chettinad mushroom and the mushroom mutter.
Our pick, though, is an old favourite—mushrooms sautéed in garlic and olive oil, sauté being the most popular cooking technique for the mushroom.
EAT IT THIS WAY
Old favourite: Sautéing is the most popular way to cook mushrooms.
Sautéed Garlic Mushrooms
•450g button mushrooms
•5 tbsp olive oil
•2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
•1 tsp lemon juice
•4 tbsp fresh flat-leaf parsley
•Salt and pepper to taste
Wipe or brush clean the mushrooms, then trim off the stalks. Cut the mushrooms into halves or quarters. Heat the olive oil in a large heavy-bottomed frying pan, add the garlic and fry for 30 seconds-1 minute, or until lightly browned. Add the mushrooms and sauté over high heat, stirring most of the time, until the mushrooms have absorbed all the oil in the pan.
Reduce the heat to low. When the juices have come out of the mushrooms, increase the heat again and sauté for 4-5 minutes, stirring most of the time, until the juices have almost evaporated. Add a squeeze of lemon juice and season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in the parsley and cook for a further minute.
Transfer the mushrooms to a warmed serving dish and serve hot, garnished with parsley sprigs.
—Source: 1 Ingredient 4 Ways,Parragon Books, UK.