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.


 #9. Shiitake

This Japanese variety is an Akemi favorite and a common ingredient in her soups and stir-fries.


#8. Oyster

These are a great introductory mushroom for the uninitiated, lovely roasted with olive, salt, and a little garlic powder.


#7. Chanterelles

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.


#6. Enoki

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.


#5. Matsutake

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.


#4. Porcini

These incredibly flavorful mushrooms are perfect with pasta.


#3. Morels

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.


#2. Maitake

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.

And you?

29 thoughts on “My Top 10 Favorite Mushrooms!

  1. Growing up on my parents dairy farm here in the UK, a lot of our pastures were quite old and untouched by chemicals so Mushrooms flourished in the damp cool autums. In a good year they were almost littered with Giant Puffballs, Calvatia gigantea which were a staple of our breakfasts that time of year. The trick is to pick them in the early morning when they are about the size of a medium melon (any later than this and they are about to spore with the inner flesh turning brown – not a nice taste). My late mum would give them a good rinse in cold water before patting them dry with a fresh dish cloth. They would then be sliced (between 1 – 1.5 cm thick) and then depending on preference they can be fried one of two ways, 1. gently dust with flower and then dip in a beaten egg mixture (seasoned with salt, pepper and garlic) before frying on a medium until the egg coating turns a gold brown. (This is my favourite and in the UK is known as Gipsy Puffball).or, 2. gently dust with seasoned flower (salt, pepper and garlic powder) before gently
    frying on a medium heat. Because of the size of a G. puffball the slices were quite large so for a quick but filling breakfast (or even lunch) you could have a slice on top of a slice of toast (some times topped with a fried egg – sunny side up) or how I prefer it, on a plate with fried eggs and bacon (normally our own from our pigs). Happy days but sadly most people here only eat the tepid flavourless offerings from supermarkets.

      1. Hi Joe. Its not haute cuisine but it is good honest and tasty country food that anyone can pick for free (with the landowners permission).

  2. My dad used to hike with an Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Mushrooms in his back pocket. At 6’7″, he covered 10+ mile hikes at a pace that was running for me. He saw further than other hikers so he could hit trails that had already been picked over by hippies. Sometimes, he’d bring home a kind where my parents had to catch spores on white paper to tell if they were a poisonous kind or not. That field guide had everything you’d need to know.

    My town is in a huge basin of clay and a lot of mushrooms do grow. I believe those enoki grow in my own yard in huge numbers, but I don’t have the guts to try them lest they really be something poisonous.

    There’s a snowball mushroom that’s supposed to be good eating, but that’s only legend because it’s impossible not to kick them. As an adult even, I’ve trespassed into my neighbor’s yard to kick one that was larger than a soccer ball.

    I don’t know what’s labor-intensive about morels. You stumble upon them and take them to your Mammaw and she cooks them. I asked her how you know if they’re poisonous and she said, “you just ate ’em. If you die, they were poisonous.” (And this is why real hill people don’t agree when critics call Mammaw from Hillbilly Elegy a caricature.)

  3. I’ve had all but 2 of those. Shiitake is naturally my favorite as it’s a Chinese staple, but where we live now, we can sometimes harvest as much as 5 pounds (each picking) of chanterelles during the season!

      1. My husband either sautés them in butter + seasoning, or makes a cream of mushroom soup, or (my favorite) makes a mushroom sauce for poutines!

  4. My Favs:
    Portabello (love me some giant portobello burgers. Yum!)
    Straw mushroom
    Although I do enjoy most mushrooms, and would not at all hesitate to consume any on your favs list,
    I’ve discovered I am not especially keen on Morels.
    I’ve never heard of Shaggy Manes? I’ll have to look it up and see if they grow here in the U.S.

    Interesting mycology facts:
    Not only are mushrooms super tasty
    albeit work well as medicinals and environmental remediations.

    Lion’s Mane was successfully used in improving alzheimers and dimentia patients
    conditions in a study conducted by researchers at Johns Hopkins University.

    Oyster mushrooms have proven excellent at soaking up oil spills and nuclear waste that seep into the soil.

    1. Hey Drea,

      Thanks for the informative insights. Time to experiment with lion’s manes!

  5. I love all kinds of mushrooms. Like many things, it’s very hard to pick a favorite for me.
    I love and have had all that you’ve mentioned in your top 10, except Shaggy Manes, which I’ve never had before. To add, I also love King oyster mushroom, giant puffball, portobello, black trumpet, lobster mushroom, shimeji and wood ear. Reishi or lingzhi (“medicinal” type) … is also interesting.

    1. Black Trumpets are wonderful but I’m told really hard to locate in U.S. I’ve only had the privilege of this treat twice. The first time was in a pasta. Another time, years later, in a homemade dip.

      Anyone here ever forage for Bolettes? Only had them once, long ago, but recall they were fairly tasty.

  6. No mushrooms for me. I find them slimy and taste horrible. Of course, it could all be a matter of choosing the correct variety and cooking method but I have no interest in experimenting. If I’m cooking for myself I’m going to cook something I know I’ll like and if I’m out for a meal I’m going to order something I know I’ll like. None of those options include mushrooms!

  7. I love the common ones we get here (the little white buttons & the Shiitake). I would love to try the others. I’ve watched/read too many medical thrillers to go pick my own. 🙂

    I put my mushrooms’ in a crockpot with a little red wine, butter, soy sauce, salted butter and garlic. They are wonderful in a few hours. I keep them in my fridge for pizza toppings, pasta additions or panni’s. I’m the only mushroom eater in my house. ;(

  8. NOus cueillons des champignons sauvages dans les forêts du Québec: chanterelles, lactaires couleur de suie, bolet à pied rouge, bolet bleuissant. Excellents.

  9. Bella is another mushroom that’s easy to buy at our local grocery. I like those, too.

    There was one restaurant somewhere in Tennessee that cooked little button mushrooms in a can of onion soup, butter and salt/pepper for eight hours. Everyone raved about them. I’ve loved every mushroom dish, so far, and would probably enjoy those too.

    What’s everyone doing today? I did four miles on the treadmill (my feet can’t tolerate running outside) and veggie soup in the instapot. It’s a good day. 🌞🙂

  10. Awesome article, Joe. The Mongolian hot pot restaurants serve Enoki by the ton here in the CA Bay Area. So delish. Perhaps worth a trip for you and Akemi 🙂

  11. Always have been fascinated finding them growing in the wild. Pretty spectacular “flower” are they? I always hated eating mushrooms. But as I get older, I like them more and more. Love them with steak especially.

    My tastes are changing I guess. Maturing with age, like a fine wine! 🙂

  12. Thank you for the mushroom primer…they are very useful in a keto diet…it’s obvious you’re a gourmet and occasion gourmand…cool…

  13. I never had a mushroom I didn’t like, although I have not always known which variety I was eating. You make me want to venture into some of the Asian markets near here when the pandemic dies down. In the nearby Smoky Mountains, there are a wide variety of mushrooms, including Morels, that are free to pick. There are even guided expeditions for safe foraging if you need guidance. The mountains also offer a wide variety of medicinal herbs, roots, and foods that grow naturally. Ginseng is especially prized due to its high dollar.value, but you risk getting shot by some hillbilly if you try to harvest what he considers his own personal, secret stash.

  14. You can get kits to grow enoki or just about any mushroom on Amazon, but I mention enoki for the lack of quality product Akemi is dealing with. Some basements are suitable to mushroom-growing. Dry, winter conditions are not. In this little nook of Dorohedoro I live in, I spend a lot of energy trying to make my indoors unsuitable to mushroom-growing.

  15. Not a fan of ‘shrooms. I like the flavor, I just can’t get past the texture. The only mushroom I like is the one that is common in Chinese (take-out) hot and sour soup around here. It’s black, and crunchy. I’ve had Chinese people try to tell me what it is, but I can’t find it, even in the huge Asian market I went to pre-covid. I just can’t match up the name they gave me (which I have forgotten now) with the Chinese words on the packages. (I probably should google it – doh!)


    PS: Sometimes Lion main mushrooms grow out of my silver maple trees at my old house. I’ve never dared eat one, but they do look kinda cool.

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