Marinated mushrooms are one of the best ways to experiment with your basketful of goodies. While there might be simplistic ingenuity with frying them in some butter and serving the crispy portions with some salt and pepper, marinating them is another great option. Too many people fall into the trap of following everyone else’s ideas on how to best serve mushrooms.
As far as I can tell, cooking mushrooms fall into one of 3 distinct categories. The first is cooking them as is. That is, to serve them alone and nothing else.
I find this method to be one of the more popular methods used by both, mushroom lovers and mushroom hunters alike. It provides the original experience, the flavors of the mushroom served the way nature intended, with very little else to distract from it.
The second method is where a cook adds the mushrooms to enhance the flavors and textures of other meals, mostly where the mushroom is not the hero. These dishes include soups, stews, and other creations where several ingredients feature.
One specific dish that springs to mind is the classic steak and mushrooms. This dish normally hero’s the steak, with the mushroom enhancing the experience through its own delightful flavors.
The third variety is where these marinated ideas come to fruition. It’s where the mushroom is the hero of the plate, although served with other things.
Think options like this White Mushroom Delight with Crabmeat Filling, or this here recipe for Tasty Mushroom Bites with Bacon and Cheese Filling. These recipes involve the mushroom as the hero, while highlighting other flavors to elevate the centerpiece.
What is a Marinade
Simply put, a marinade is any combination of flavors you choose, which soak into the dish’s hero. Honey-soy chicken uses the protein with a mixture of honey and soy sauce.
Barbecue beef is normally tender slices of beef, marinated in some type of smoky and sweet sauce. The proteins absorb the flavors of the sauces and almost cure with the flavors.
Marinated mushrooms are no different. Remember how I often advise against washing your mushrooms after bringing them home from the fields? That is because mushrooms are giant sponges, absorbing water ridiculously fast. That very property is what makes them perfect to marinade.
The great thing about marinating mushrooms is that it’s all up to you with what flavors you choose to add. There’s no reason why you can’t experiment with flavors yourself.
All it takes is a little know-how, a little adventure, and a few pounds of wonderful mushrooms. Now prepare yourself to learn how to marinade mushrooms.
The Simple Steps to Marinated Mushrooms
Step #1: Preparation
Preparation is everything when getting your mushrooms ready. Remember, mushrooms are hungry sponges, so avoid washing them as best you can.
The best method is to use a fine-haired brush and wipe the dust and grit from the mushrooms. If the dirt is a little more stubborn, use a damp cloth to remove it.
The most important part is to limit how much water the mushrooms come into contact with. Too much and you’ll limit the amount of marinade they can absorb. Don’t clean them enough and dust and grit will end up in your dish.
Another point to make is regarding the stems. Mushroom stems aren’t as spongy as the cap, so decide whether they need removing. If the presentation doesn’t matter too much, remove the stems before marinating.
Step #2: The marinade
Next, it’s time to choose the marinade you’ll want to use. Remember, this is where you get to experiment as much as you want. The first thing to decide on is which carrier to use, the liquid which binds all the other flavors together.
I recommend good-quality olive oil for this, although other choices include various types of vinegar, vegetable oil, or even favorable alcohol like vodka. The possibilities really are endless. Use any number of spices, sauces, condiments, or any other flavors you think will fit.
Step #3: Storing
One of the key elements of marinading anything is time. Too little and you risk the mushrooms not absorbing enough of the liquid.
This will result in bland flavors that don’t quite sing the way you intended. Too long and you’ll end up with mushy mushrooms when cooking them.
I recommend marinating the mushrooms for a minimum of 1 hour, no less. I prefer to leave them in the fridge overnight. This is a substantial amount of time. Be sure to store them in an airtight, food-safe container.
Step #4: Time to Cook
It’s time to cook them however you feel at the time. Fry them in a skillet or grill them on a BBQ. Whichever cooking method you choose, feel proud that the flavors they carry were created by you. Marinated mushrooms really are a great way to serve them.