coming to grips with mushrooms
Ok, it's time for me to do this. Over the last decade I have conquered almost all of my food phobias, and now love raw oysters, eggplant, mustard, and liver. I can occasionally enjoy, if not become infatuated with, mayo and chicken legs. The last one left is mushrooms. I see people around me enjoying them all the time and I KNOW they have enormous potential deliciousness. If any of you have a recipe that will so inspire me with mushroomy delight that I can't help loving them, please share it! I'm resolved to enjoy any and every mushroom I find by the time the summer ends. Unfortunately my access to rare ingredients is very limited, so I can't really work with anything too obscure. Please help me!
White button mushrooms are pretty easy going. They're the most easy to come by and the don't have much of a strong or hard to take taste.
They saute nicely with onions, if you like onions. Almost anything I'd make with sauteed onions often gets an accompaniment of sauteed mushrooms in my house.
Mushroom caps stuffed with browned, ground sausage or beef, a bit of parmesan, bread crumbs and some herbs and then run under a broiler is one of my favorite appetizers. There are about a billion ways to dress up a stuffed mushroom recipe as well... here's an example from epicurious that looked good to me (if you like the other flavors in it - bacon, spinach, feta):
I also love mushrooms in a creamy sauce over pasta - other accompaniments might be some cubed ham or chicken (like in a chicken alfredo).
Portobellos are probably the second easiest to find mushroom, and would probably be a good next step after button mushrooms.
A word of warning - if you venture into shiitakes, the dried ones can be tricky to work with, even when you reconstitute them, I find them to be too strong for most dishes.
If it is a question of flavor and texture one way would be to start with a duexelle- finely chopped mushrooms and onions sauteed in a bit of butter or olive oil with garlic, pepper and a small amount of nutmeg. This is cooked until it is dry- mushrooms seem to let out a lot of liquid in their cooking. The mixture can then be used like a pate of sorts- topping for a roasted veggie of or another option is to smeer the paste under a chicken breast skin before baking the chicken.
This will give you a lot of straight( but enhanced ) s'room flavor to work on your tastes. The texture thing may be best taken on in the portabella form since their texture is more pronounced; I would marinate in a balsamic dressing and grill or roast them whole. I like to serve with spinach and grated Pecorino/parmesan type cheese.
A more obtuse way to challenge this flavor might be to try adding them to random things you already make- chopped to a spag' bol' , in a meat loaf, even in ground beef for burgers.
Why mushroom fear?
Taste, texture, look, past bad dishes? What have you tried and not liked.
I also liked fried in butter with sliced onions. To up the flavor, when mushrooms and onions are cooked, add sour cream at the last minute.
I love mushrooms, so have lots of mushroomy ideas if I knew why you didn't like them.
If you like raw mushrooms it sounds like it might be the slime factor in a cooked mushroom. Not that they are slimy, but they have that slippery texture.
I'd go with the soup and finely chopped suggestions at first. You might not like the fried with sour cream then. Although you can always lightly sautee them in butter with onions so they are close to their more natural texture.
Here was an old thread about not liking the texture with some suggestions.
I'll look through my mushroom cookbooks (yeah, I like them that much) and see what I got.
Second the risotto idea, though I'd use dried porcini. Dried mushrooms have stronger flavor than fresh, so maybe you want to stick with a lighter white mushroom at first.
I'd saute some garlic, shallots, and/or onions in butter and/or olive oil. Add chopped-up mushrooms, saute till they release their juices (button mushrooms will release a good amount, dried mushrooms won't), and cook down. Add risotto rice, stir till coated with oil and slightly translucent. Add a smal cup of white wine, stir till absorbed. Add warmed stock, a small cup at a time, stirring and letting each be absorbed before adding the next. When al dente, maybe add some cream or more butter, and stir in plenty of chopped fresh parsley just before serving.
Sorry for the detailed description if you already know how to make risotto, but I thought I'd add it in case!