I’ve never been a fan of your common grocery store mushrooms (button, cremini) but have always loved the wild varieties. Back when I used to frequent restaurants (Remember indoor dining?), October was always a month to look forward to because it was mushroom season and one could look forward to dedicated menus featuring everything from chanterelles to porcini, enoki to matsutake. I miss those days. And I miss some of the harder-to-find varieties that are near impossible to order fresh. For the time being at least.
You’d thing it would be near impossible to come up with ten different types of mushrooms, but I’m going to surprise you. Here are my Top 10 Favorites…
#10. Lion’s Mane
Yes, they look like something that might populate an alien world, but they’re delicious cut (to resemble CT brain slices), and pan-fried with a little garlic, oil, salt, and black pepper.
This Japanese variety is an Akemi favorite and a common ingredient in her soups and stir-fries.
These are a great introductory mushroom for the uninitiated, lovely roasted with olive, salt, and a little garlic powder.
A mainstay of many a high-end French restaurant in the fall, they’re a highlight side dish, sautéed with butter and garlic. A great accompaniment to a robust steak.
Another terrific Japanese variety, they offer a nice textural crunch that is atypical of most mushrooms. Akemi loves them in soups but claims it’s hard to find quality product here in Canada.
The grand-daddy of high-end Japanese mushrooms is this coveted variety whose subtle flavor is wonderful in soups or simply grilled with a touch of salt.
These incredibly flavorful mushrooms are perfect with pasta.
They’re pricey, and a little labor intensive, but I think they’re worth the cost and effort. I love them stuffed and/or roasted with a little olive and thyme.
Oven-roasted to crispy perfection with a little salt and garlic powder.
#1. Shaggy Manes
These are extremely elusive. You can’t order them because of their extremely short shelf lives and, unless you can differentiate between them and other similar-looking toxic varieties, picking them in the wild can be a little dicey. I haven’t had them since I was a kid. My father used to forage for them, often a handful at a time, bringing them home where my mother would pan fry them with butter and garlic.