A great appetizer low in fat and great in flavor
Mushroom is a wonderful food ingredient. Mushrooms are low in calories, fat-free, cholesterol-free, gluten-free, and very low in sodium, yet they provide important nutrients, including selenium, potassium (8%), riboflavin, niacin, vitamin D and more. In this article I will share with you my experience getting the best and most natural flavor and nutrition out of mushroom.
Mushroom could be a great appetizer for a formal dinner. The best taste of the mushroom is its own taste, so everything else you add is to help bring out its natural flavor. It also means that you should not rush in cooking mushroom, as high fire would destroy the flavor pretty quickly. I did the dish below for an important dinner – does it make you hungry? 🙂
Now, let me show you a simplified version of making the dish above – something you can learn to do easily in your own kitchen!
If anything needs to be organic in your grocery basket, it should be mushroom. Mushrooms are well known for absorbing various stuff from the soil that they are grown in – good or bad. Non-organic mushrooms could concentrate heavy metals, as well as air and water pollutants. I usually only buy organic mushrooms from Wholefoods, with occasional supplements from Asian super-markets.
For this dish, I picked four different organic mushrooms for their distinct texture – shiitake, crimini, baby king oyster, and beech mushrooms. I usually shun from portabella mushroom, the texture of which is too coarse for delicate dishes.
Ideally, mushrooms should be cooked without washing, as they can quickly absorb water during washing, making the cooking process a lot more time consuming. The excessive water that comes out during cooking would also partially damage the flavor. Quickly scrub the surface with your thumb and cut out the roots to clean. However, if you are not comfortable with that, you should wash it quickly with cold water and natural vegetable washing detergent. After washing, they should be cut into small pieces, as shown below.
As I mentioned earlier, some other ingredients would be necessary to help bring out the flavor. There are three and only three key ones – lemon, salt (I prefer Himalayan pink salt), and vegan butter (earth balance vegan buttery sticks at wholefoods), each adding unique flavor and neutralizing the others.
Now, let’s get to the actual cooking steps:
1. Add 1/4 of a vegan buttery stick into the wok, start medium fire and wait for stick to melt
2.Now add all the mushrooms and slowly stir for 2-3 minutes until water starts to come out. Grind some salt onto the mushroom – about 10 grinds with the bottle that I use, quickly stir fry for 2 min. Now cut half of a lemon and squeeze some lemon juice onto the mushroom, slowly stir to allow water to evaporate. This process will take about 10 minutes, and you can adjust salt and lemon juice until the flavor is right for your.
3. When most of the water is gone, put in another 1/4 stick of butter and continue to stir slowly. The melt butter will now replace the water and penetrate into the mushroom, which will display a golden color from cooking. The smell would be very tempting by this stage. See, it is so simple even my daughter can do it. 🙂
4. When the mushroom is starting change to a deeper color and smaller shape, it is time to finish cooking. Given the butter in the ingredient, it is best if the mushroom is now accompanied by something refreshing, such as sweet pea shoots or other type of salads.
Congratulations! You have just finished making a delicious mushroom dish! Be amazed by how tasty it is! 🙂