Earthly Treasures: Cooking with Mushrooms

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Every year when the weather grew colder in my hometown, my father took me out to pick mushrooms from the fields near my home. With buckets in our hands we’d trek into misty meadows to pluck them from the ground. We would return home with buckets overflowing. I can still vividly recall the smell of those mushrooms fresh from the earth, like a cool, foggy morning.

Mushrooms are delicate yet hearty, exotic yet earthy, and have a texture all their own. They’re often treated and thought of as a vegetable, or used to substitute meat, yet they belong to another biological kingdom altogether (the fungus kingdom). From their flavor to their texture, aroma, and appearance, mushrooms are truly distinct. I love them on their own, sautéd with a little garlic, some parsley, and a splash of wine, then cooked in cream. They can also transform an otherwise simple dish into something rich, luxurious, and full-bodied. The key to cooking mushrooms is to take time and sauté them to reduce their water content, leaving them tender and with a satisfying chew. You don’t have to venture out into the fields to handpick mushrooms as I did when I was a child,…

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