We are already in mushroom season , perhaps one of the best in recent years.
The cogumelos , as we call mushrooms in my land, have long since become a real delicacy in any dish, both simple and slightly more elaborate.
I, who declare myself an unconditional fan and in my house when autumn arrives there is never a lack (like chestnuts) I want to give you some details about them so that you know exactly what they are, which ones to choose, when is the best time to take advantage of them and, above all, how to prepare them.
What are their characteristics?
Before getting down to business you should know that mushrooms come from the plant world, but they are not vegetables, that a mushroom is the body of the fungus that remains underground and is made up of different parts:
- The hymenium is under the hat. It is usually laminated or with folds or tubes.
- The hat is the most characteristic and tasty part and the one that allows differentiating the types of mushrooms by their different colors and aspects.
- Foot supports the two previous parts and in some cases it may not exist or be stunted.
- Volva is found only in some varieties such as Amanita and Volvaria and disappears when the mushroom is ripe.
- Ring or curtain is a kind of veil that covers and protects the hymenium.
Where to find mushrooms?
- Now that you know a little better about each of its parts, another very important fact that you have to know about mushrooms is that their peak is autumn , so this is the perfect season to go out for them.
- Although you can find them in many different places within our country, they are usually in very leafy areas of the mountain, fields and the wettest mountain ranges.
- Going out to collect them is quite an adventure and can have very beneficial results on your dishes, as long as you make sure that the collected variety is suitable for cooking. Do not play it, if you have doubts it is better not to prepare them, since it could be very dangerous.
- Remember that they are delicate species and that you will have to cut them carefully and never pluck them directly from the ground. Try to keep them in a cool and dry place (for example a wicker basket).
How to preserve them correctly?
- Make sure they are fresh before buying and of course, consuming them and store them in the fridge before washing them. They must be dry and uncovered.
- Before cooking, clean them very well with a damp cloth but never under the tap.
How to dry the mushrooms?
Actually, this is the ideal method for preserving your mushrooms, since dehydrated mushrooms hold up for much longer even if you have to rehydrate them again for preparation.
It is much simpler than you think:
- In the air : we will place the mushrooms in a cool place where the air runs (but without humidity and if possible in the kitchen where there is heat) on a wire tray. If you choose this option, the process will take between 2 or 3 days. If you want you can cheat a little and help yourself with a fan to dry them faster.
- In the sun . Like it is made with figs, tomatoes or plums. You just have to put them in the sun until they are “like a raisin”, but remember to collect them at night, otherwise the humidity can make them rehydrate.
- In the oven . This is the easiest and fastest method. Put them on the rack or on the tray with baking paper. You must put it at low temperature ( 50-60ºC) and wait for 4 to 6 hours. One trick I give you is to leave the door ajar and let the moisture out.
Some types of mushrooms
- On the one hand there are the cultivation mushrooms (mushrooms, shitake) that you can find practically all year round in your fruit or grocery store, but which are not less tasty and will always give your dishes a very special touch.
- Other of the best known are the boletus edulis, ceps or the amanita caesarea . These varieties are served raw filleted with a powerful dressing.
- On the other hand there are the chanterelles, the oyster mushrooms or the chanterelle mushrooms that are sauteed in traditional stews and stews are delicious!
- And finally, the smallest: the senderuelos, the trumpets of death and the yellow ones . I usually use them whole as a filling for meat dishes, in rice dishes and with vegetables.
How to cook them. Recipes
Sauteed, grilled, roasted in the oven, steamed, in a stir, style or stewed and stewed … Mushrooms are a real delight, a wonder for the palate and the best thing is that they adapt to all kinds of preparations. You don’t need to complicate yourself with elaborate dishes to enjoy its flavor.
Here are some recipes that I hope will inspire you and help you get the most out of them:
- Mushroom Lasagna: It is a perfect vegetarian alternative to classic lasagna and is also suitable for low calorie diets.
- Gula, octopus and prawn toast: mushrooms are a key ingredient in this rich toast, since its texture breaks with the marine touch of the other ingredients, giving it a very special flavor.
- Boletus and chanterelles cake : the lightness of both the boletus and chanterelles together with the forcefulness of the leek and the cream make for an ideal balance of flavors, in addition to high amounts of vitamins and minerals.
- Potato omelette with boletus : can you imagine a Betanzos omelette but with mushrooms? Well, stop imagining and do it yourself.
- Meatballs in mushroom sauce : you can also make a sauce with your mushrooms and season any type of meat.
- Mushroom risotto : Mushrooms have long been famous for conquering risottos in all parts of the world. A good variety of mushrooms and a good rice will make you get an excellent result.
- Mushroom croquettes: delicious croquettes with an explosion of flavor and creaminess never seen before. My favorite boletus.
- Mushrooms in tempura with ali-oli : you can also coat them or bread them. In the case of tempura you will get a very fine batter and enjoy all the flavor of the mushrooms.
- Fricando amb bolets : if you add any variety of your favorite mushrooms to a traditional stew, the result will be even better.
- Galician empanada de lacón and mushrooms : and of course, mushrooms also combine perfectly within the traditional Galician empanada with lacón and its sofrito.
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