Shitake mushrooms are the most flavorful, most savory mushrooms, true delights for anyone looking for an unforgettable meal. A mushroom variety native to East Asia, shitake comes with an unmistakable, meaty, rich flavor that confers a characteristic taste to Asian dishes and that is enjoying huge popularity in Western cooking as well. Shitake mushrooms are today easily available in grocery stores, being among the most popular delicacies and staples in the spice cabinets of many homes. Thanks to their incredible versatility, shitake mushrooms make excellent ingredients in soups, stews, pasta dishes and many others – here are some important things to know about the mushroom variety and some great and easy cooking ideas for using shitake either in fresh form or dried.
Types, Edible Parts and Storage
Shitake mushrooms are available either in dried form or fresh. When sold in dried form, the mushrooms are cleaned, dehydrated and removed from the stem; when you buy the mushrooms in fresh form, you should take care of the cleaning and you should also make sure that only the upper part of the mushroom goes into your food, the stem being too hard and too fibrous to eat. Dried varieties can be stored in a cool, dry place, such as in the pantry, while fresh shitakes should be kept in the fridge in a paper bag.
A Few Cooking Ideas to Use Shitake Mushrooms
There are many ways to use shitake mushrooms in your food. Here are some easy tips offered by Hidden Forest Mushroom Spores;
- Stir fries with vegetable – if you are planning to prepare your very first shitake dish, a stir fry with vegetables, such as green beans, is an excellent start. The flavor of the shitake being so strong, you will not need too many spices to make the dish really rich. Use a little ginger, garlic, oyster sauce and onions for a fresh taste and serve the dish with rice;
- An elegant and simple side dish – just sauté your fresh, cleaned shitake on a little butter, with some salt and pepper, for around 10 minutes, then sprinkle it all with some sesame seeds for even more texture. Served as a side dish next to rice and even with some white meat, your shitakes will add a spot of Asian sophistication to your meal;
- A rich mushroom soup – preparing a soup using only shitake might be too much, so get a variety of other mushrooms and add just a little shitake for the extra touch of flavor. Your soup will make not only an excellent, comforting dish – it is also great for the immune system, just perfect for the cold, dark evenings in winter;
- Shitake pasta – all you will need for this recipe is a pack of your favorite pasta variety, some dried or fresh shitake mushrooms, a little garlic, salt, pepper, double cream and some of your favorite herb, such as thyme, oregano or basil. Sautee the mushrooms in a little oil, then add the garlic and the spices and pour in the cream for a rich sauce, then add the cooked pasta. You can top it all with some grated parmesan.
If you are looking for a particular variety of a mushroom spore syringe, look at Hidden Forest Mushroom Spores.