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MUSHROOM COOKING

The Good, the Bad, the Ugly

Cooking demonstration explores mushrooms

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In partnership with chef John Hartley and the New Mexico State University School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management (HRTM), NMSU professor of fungal plant pathology Soum Sanogo, Ph.D., and students in his fungal biology course held the 2021 NMSU Mushroom Cooking Demonstration event.

The course’s theme is “Fungi: The Good, The Bad and the Ugly,” Sanogo said. A corollary theme is “Fungi: They Feed Us, They Heal Us and They Harm Us.”

“The uniqueness of this event was the fact it involved not only the students taking the course but a diverse audience of mushroom enthusiasts, including mushroom growers,” he said. “In addition, the program included a brief segment on research at the University of New Mexico being conducted on porcini mushrooms.”

Mushroom recipes provided by Hartley, who is also an HRTM college assistant professor, were also on the program’s menu.

The demonstration had 40 to 45 attendees, Sanogo said, including 13 students from his class, along with the owner of Full Circle Mushrooms based in La Mesa, New Mexico.

“I didn’t expect this much interest in the event,” he said. “I greatly appreciate this level of participation because it provides a challenging environment to myself and the students in assessing the adequacy of our knowledge in responding to questions.

“I would say that the mushroom cooking demonstration event went amazingly well,” said Suman Sharma, a student in Sanogo’s class. “We got to know delicious mushroom recipes from chef Hartley using different mushroom species such as oyster, black pearl, lion's mane and shiitake. As a part of a fungal biology course assignment, we searched for nutritional and medicinal properties of these mushrooms. It provided us as well as attendees with a tremendous knowledge about benefits of eating mushrooms. It was a great fun also via Zoom to participate in this event. I really enjoyed it and I hope all the attendees liked the event too.”

“I knew that mushrooms taste fantastic. What I learned from the student presentations is that mushrooms are practically health food (if they are not toxic),” said Joan Crowley, who participated in the cooking demonstration. “They can also be anti-inflammatory. Who knew? I enjoyed the cooking demonstrations, especially watching chef showing off his sauté technique. Those mushrooms really jumped. (Sauté means jump in French.) The one dish I may try to make on my own is the mushroom and corn chowder.

“I was privileged to participate in this class,” Crowley said. “I commend professor Sanogo for opening the class to other participants. It's part of NMSU service to the community.”

Contact Sanogo at ssanogo@nmsu.edu.

Black Pearl mushroom croutons recipe

From NMSU School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management Chef John Hartley

What you need: sliced black pearl mushrooms, olive oil or butter or both, salt and pepper to taste

What to do: Heat the oil  or butter in a sauté pan until shimmering, add a single layer of mushroom slices to the bottom of the pan. Brown and crisp one side of the mushrooms, flip and brown and crisp the other side. Remove mushrooms from pan and blot excess oil with paper towels. Season with salt and pepper.

Chef’s notes: “I served these with baby mixed greens, grape tomatoes and bell peppers in a white wine vinaigrette. They would go equally well with any green salad, Caesar salad or similar tossed salad.”

Lion’s Mane and Corn Chowder

What you need: 2 cups cubed lion’s mane mushrooms, 2 cups cubed potatoes, ½ cup diced onion, 2 tablespoons chopped garlic, 1 cup cut corn, 3 tablespoons cooking oil (corn, canola or vegetable), 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour, ¼ cup clam juice, 2 cup milk (half & half or heavy cream can be used for a richer soup, but use half the amount of flour), salt and pepper, creole seasoning to taste.

What to do: Heat oil in a saucepan or pot and sweat (do not brown) mushrooms, onions and garlic until onions are translucent. Deglaze plan with sherry and allow sherry to cook away, almost dry. Add flour and mix well. Then immediately add clam juice, milk and remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, then turn down and simmer (stirring frequently) until potatoes are soft. Taste and adjust seasoning and serve.

Sauteed oyster mushrooms

What you need: 2 cups oyster mushrooms, sliced lengthwise, 1 cup sliced leeks (scallions will also work), 2 tablespoons whole butter (or oil), 2 tablespoons chopped garlic, salt and pepper to taste; herbs such as fresh thyme, rosemary, etc. can be added to make this pair with various foods.

What to do: Melt butter in a sauté pan and add leeks. Sweat leeks on a moderate heat until tender and add mushrooms, garlic and seasoning. Continue to cook until mushrooms are tender.

Chef’s notes: “This can be used independently as a side dish or as the base for other dishes. For example, addition of heavy cream and parmesan cheese to the sauté pan will result in a mushroom alfredo sauce; addition of broth with result in a mushroom soup (with whatever additional vegetables/seasonings you like, such as ginger and soy sauce).”

Shiitake risotto

What you need: 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 cup arborio rice, 1 tablespoon chopped garlic, ¼ cup diced onion, 1 and ½ cups chopped shiitake mushrooms, 2 cups (approximately) chicken or vegetable broth, 1 cup baby spinach leaves (or kale), ½ cup heavy cream, ½ cup shredded or grated parmesan cheese.

What to do: Heat oil in saucepan and add rice. Saute rice until it just begins to brown and add onions, garlic and mushrooms. Continue to cook until mushrooms are soft and onions are translucent. Start adding chicken broth (1 cup to start with) and simmer until broth is almost completely absorbed by the rice but there is still a small amount of liquid in the mixture. Check the consistency of the rice and add more broth, simmering continuously, and allow the additional broth to be absorbed. Keep checking the rice’s texture and adding broth until the rice is al dente (not hard in the middle, but still firm). Stir in spinach until just wilted and add cream and cheese. Stir until cheese has completely melted and serve immediately.