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Mushrooms for a mushroom hater?

I've always hated mushrooms - that nasty slimy texture that rubs off your teeth in a most unpleasant way. And those horrible frilly ones - YUK!!

But I've never minded the *taste* of mushrooms, and people keep telling me that not all shrooms are like the disgusting ones that have made me hate them so much. So what variety of fungus would you recommend for someone like me, who's had bad experiences in the past but would kind of like to give mushrooms a second chance?

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  1. Black trumpets or chanterelles, fried in butter, finished with cognac and a bit of heavy cream. My wife is a mushroom hater, too, but enjoys this. They are not as "spongy" as portabellos, buttons, etc. Have not had Matsutakes yet, but I hear they are unbelievable.

    1 Reply
    1. re: nsenada

      Yum, I used to pick both in Finland. I used sour cream on top of peasant bread toast.

    2. My only advice would be to stay away from portabellas, unless they are sliced into something. I am not a mushroom expert, but in the past five years, I have lost my aversion to them and now crave them.

      1 Reply
      1. re: jhopp217

        If the OP likes the meaty taste of portabellas, I suggest he/she try crimini mushrooms. These are nothing more than small portabella mushrooms. The smaller size results in a firmer texture without the huge gill structure.

        My other hint, is that the OP saute the mushrooms in clarified butter or oil (or combination) at a slightly lower temperature than typical. At some point, the mushrooms will begin to give off lots of moisture. Keep sauteeing the mushrooms and eventually the liquid will boil off. You'll get lovely concentrated dice with great mushroomy flavor. I usually do this with crimini, but I've used other wild mushroom varieties. (This is essentialy a duxelle-technique without the shallots and other embellishments typical of true duxelle recipes.)

        Note: dice the mushroom pieces larger than the size you want to end up with. There will be considerable shrinkage during the cooking process.

      2. My mushroom-despising former roommate loved morels. Enoki mushrooms are also pretty inoffensive, if the fleshy texture of other mushrooms bothers you.

        1. As a confirmed mushroom loather, might I suggest this affliction is incurable.

          1 Reply
          1. re: beevod

            It is. I was never a big mushroom fan and everyone always tried pushing portabellas on me and it made me hate them even more. I inadvertently ordered chicken marasala one night, forgetting it was covered with mushrooms. The sauce was delicious and I decided to try the mmushroom. It was like a marsala sponge. Ever since, I like mushrooms! Still not a huge fan of portabellas, but a friend grilled them and served them with marinated peppers and mozzarella....bets I've had!

          2. Well, I'm with you on the texture thing. I don't like the texture of coconut but I do like the taste. So I don't eat things with grated coconut, but if it's hidden in a dish, I will eat it.

            That said, maybe it's not the type of mushroom but rather the preparation. Lots of mushrooms have that sort of spongy texture if they are sauteed improperly, but if they are dry sauteed or roasted or chopped up in a dish, they lose that textural problem. Try a mushroom risotto where the mushrooms are chopped up. You get great mushroom flavor, but because the mushrooms are chopped and sauteed and then added to the risotto, you don't get the unfortunate texture. You can use a whole variety of mushrooms, whatever looks good in the store. The main thing is to give mushrooms dry heat, and then they don't get slimy.

            1. I detested mushrooms until I tried the hen of the woods variety (I've also seen them called chicken of the woods). The flavor and texture are nothing like other mushrooms. It's bizarre.

              4 Replies
              1. re: invinotheresverde

                chicken of the woods(sulfur shelf/laetiporus) and hen of the woods(maitake) mushrooms are totally different mushrooms.

                not saying that some people wouldn't call one or the other by both names. . . just sayin.

                to the op-- maybe try plain ol button mushrooms (mild mushroom flavor) in a cream soup-- pureed. no texture issue. or a mushroom pate preparation. then work up to sliced mushrooms and different varietals. butter sauteed morels. i'd avoid all varieties of dried mushroom preparations at first, though.

                1. re: soupkitten

                  Good to know. I've heard them used interchangeably.

                  1. re: invinotheresverde

                    Here's a thread on Maitakes: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/2884...

                    The one I posted the picture of was massive (and delicious).

              2. Do truffles count?

                I never thought mushrooms as slimy, but I guess that's subjective. Still, I get the feeling that they were crowded when cooked.

                I liked chanterelle, morels and the humble shitaki, but I think mushrooms are at their best when they're mixed together for the subtle differences in taste and texture. Just be sure to be careful with the cleaning/cooking.

                1 Reply
                1. re: ediblover

                  Truffles don't count -- the texture is completely different. And there are some other edible fungi that are in the same category.

                  I dislike like mushrooms. I loathe and despise most mushrooms and barely tolerate small amounts of a few more.

                  I agree with beevod that it's incurable.

                  There is one huge exception: I have a mushroom-almond pate recipe (aka mock chopped liver) that I love. But that's because the mushrooms are cooked until most of the moisture is gone and then pureed so it's just flavor with none of the disgusting texture.

                2. I am a life long slimy mushroom hater. I LOVE morels. My family has been hunting morels for generations (sadly, not a skill that I have) and I am very sad that it took me 24 yrs. to agree to tasting some. I am more willing to try other kinds now, but still avoid any white button, portobello, crimini, etc.

                  1. Growing up I never liked mushrooms either, entirely because of the texture. Then I tried morels and my world was turned upside down. I loved them! They may be difficult to find and expensive (depending on where you live), so my second suggestion is chanterelles.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: teemo

                      Morels are amazing. And I think no matter where you are (So. Oregon) they're still expensive. But so worth it. I just saute in butter, s&p. But you could add some wine. I don't. Perfection is perfectioin.

                    2. Dried and reconstituted shiitake mushrooms are fantastic in soups or in braises. I especially enjoy that meaty chewy consistency they retain even after cooking them in lots of liquid. The shiitake mushroom has a wonderful earthy taste that you may or may not enjoy. Straw mushrooms probably wouldn't appeal to you because they tend to be some of the slimyest of the bunch. You can try them and let us know.

                      1. OMG so good to know I'm not alone! Thanks for all the suggestions. Morels sounded promising but then I had to go and google some pictures - that might take...courage...

                        Anyway I'll take this thread with me next time I'm at the market where the mushroom people sometimes go. Wish me luck...

                        6 Replies
                        1. re: nicecupoftea

                          I assure you that morels may look strange, but have no slimy texture at all. You will most likely find them dried, which is just fine, and you can strain and use the broth created by reconstituting. At Epicurious.com you can find a great pasta recipe with goat cheese, asparagus, and morels - it was probably the first dishes to convert me. Perhaps I will look it up and post it.

                          1. re: centralpadiner

                            In Oregon I can get fresh morels in Spring. I cut in half or quarters depending on size and just saute in butter. I like all mushrooms but morels are the ultimate for me.

                            1. re: c oliver

                              Yes, you can. And I come from generations of morel hunters that get them every Spring here in PA also. But, the vast majority of people don't do that, or live someplace that they are easy to find fresh when in season. Just letting her know that she will most likely find dried, and they are a fine substitute.

                              Yep, they are the ultimate mushroom. No doubt. Many of my family members will only eat theirs sauteed in butter and combined with scrambled eggs.... Apparently, I needed a bit more to force my conversion . . .thus the recipe I mention above. :) Here it is:


                              1. re: centralpadiner

                                Wow, what could be better than local morels and asparagus. We will definitely be making it up to Oregon in the spring. And the mushroom man also sells truffles. I bought one small one a few years ago. What a treat!

                                1. re: c oliver

                                  A colleague of mine lived in Oregon and said it was a paradise for most forms of mushrooms, including matsutakes.

                                2. re: centralpadiner

                                  your family has it right: morels and scrambled eggs (asparagus on the side). the ultimate in perfection.

                          2. My history with mushrooms is long and storied but here’s a small recap:

                            I’ve always been a borderline mushroom hater.

                            I became a vegetarian in the mid 70s and believe me, in the early days of my vegetarianism just about every vegetarian dish had mushrooms. I’d pick them off without eating them but the ‘essence’ they left behind was ok. Like you, it had much to do with texture.

                            Then I ate wild mushrooms foraged by my cousin and cooked in generous amount of butter with a healthy dose of garlic by his dear wife. This was a revelation to me. I’ve found through trial and error that re-creating this dish can best be accomplished using Morels.

                            Another way to enjoy mushrooms is to make mushroom duxelles. This preparation eliminates the texture but leaves the flavor.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: MplsM ary

                              +1 on duxelles. I make a variety of duxelles and freeze them. My favorite duxelles have either brandy or cognac in them.

                            2. I tried to find recipes for Norwegian mushroom bread recipe, but this is the best I could do.
                              The bread removes most of what you object to.

                              Reconstitute dried mushrooms in gin and put them in Martinis, instead of olives. By the third one, you'll love mushrooms!

                              1. You’re right. It is not the taste of the mushrooms that many find objectionable. It is rather the texture that some cannot seem to get past their palates. Such is also the case in my family. Yet, for the sake of nutrition, I have learned to include them in many dishes that are appreciated. There are two key points to make them more palatable:
                                1. Never clean them with water or use canned mushrooms unless you plan to put them in soups or sauces. The mushrooms absorb the water like a sponge and increase the volume and unpleasant texture that some don’t like. Use a mushroom brush if you have one. If not, a dry paper towel seems to do the job very nicely.
                                2. Cut them up in small pieces so they don’t look like mushrooms anymore.

                                1. "But I've never minded the *taste* of mushrooms.........So what variety of fungus would you recommend for someone like me"

                                  I think that would have to be the variety that you've not minded the least. Then you can prepare it in a similar way and take it from there. Almost impossible to make a precise recommendation as your tastes are going to be different from my tastes - I love all sorts, whether cooked as an accompanying vegetable or as the "main event" or with some varieties just raw in salad or dunked in mayo.

                                  1. Giant puff ball mushrooms; they can grow the size of a loaf of bread. Slice and fry in butter. Not like other mushrooms, at all.

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: Passadumkeg

                                      OMG, your the only person other than my grandfather I've ever heard talk about that. He claims it's one of the best things he's ever had, and he is well travelled with an adventuresome palette at almost 94. They used to find them all the time as children. . . . we almost never seem them in the area anymore. :(

                                      1. re: Passadumkeg

                                        I never knew you could eat those! I always loved kicking them as a kid...

                                        1. re: teemo

                                          Gotta pick them befoe they are "puffy" w/ the green pores. Pure white "meat". Yum!

                                          1. re: teemo

                                            You have to be REALLY careful about mushrooms in the wild- many of the most common mushrooms you see are deadly poisonous. If you aren't buying them at a store or with a mushroom expert, don't eat it.

                                        2. if want just normal buttun mushrooms try to slice them thin and then fry them on medium high heat in butter, s&p, till they get a bit brown, turn and fry on the other side.. u can add some fresh herb, like thyme, and maybe some lemon juice.. then they get a little more crispy outside and rn't so mushy.

                                          if u want to make a filling or sauce etc. just let the mushrooms cook with a little bit of salt untill al liquid is gone before adding stock or cream or whatever u want to add..

                                          1. You've got lots of replies, so maybe others do better, but I actually am not sure what you're trying to avoid, so it's hard to be sure what to recommend. A lot of your wording suggests such an emotional aversion that I think you might do best just to give up (nasty, horrible, disgusting).

                                            But "frilly" and "slimy" are pretty graspable descriptors. What mushrooms have you tried, and how? And when you speak of slimy texture on your teeth, do you mean some actual residue? Is it different from, say, how a Chinese noodle stir-fry might feel?

                                            I love dried (then reconstituted) porcini mushrooms in risottos, in chicken cacciatore, on pizzas, in cream sauces with pasta, or in a sauce to go atop scallopini. But I am not sure whether they would count for you as slimy. Their flavor is incomparable.