Late fall and early winter are a great time to buy mushrooms – they are freshest, and most plentiful, around this time of year. Mushrooms, properly speaking, are the fleshy, spore-bearing fruiting body of a fungus, typically produced above ground, or on soil. They grow wild in forests, fields and meadows, as well as being commercially cultivated. Yet what most people common know and use as a mushroom – the commercially grown white button – it just one of a huge variety of types; mushrooms come in all sizes, flavours, and even colours. At Buffalo Market, we currently have a great range available, so let our handy guide walk you through the choice, from Velvet Pioppini to Trumpet Royale.
Also known as the Black Poplar mushroom, the robust, earthy flavour of Velvet Pioppini has made it a hit with chefs and foodies alike over the last five years. Characterised by dark brown caps – they have a soft, silky texture, hence the name “velvet” – on long cream coloured stems, their intense forest flavour goes perfectly with pastas, game, tomato-based sauces, and red meat. And, of course, big red wines. One for lovers of pure flavour.
These beautiful, bright-orange glossy mushrooms have an earthy, forest flavour a a natural layer of gelatin on the cap, meaning they’re great as a thickener for soups and sauces – this variety is a standard ingredient in miso soup. Popular in Asia, their texture adds an intriguing dimension to dishes, and is a wonderful compliment to all types of red meat and game.
Also known as Hon- or Buna-Shimeji, the Brown Clamshell is famed for its mild shellfish flavour, which makes it perfect for seafood stews, soups, and bisques. Perfect for sautéing, they are also great roasted – it brings up the deep, earthy flavours. Brown Clamshells go great with red wine sauces and stir-fries; also anything with garlic, chives, almonds, or cashews.
Cultivated as an albino version of the Brown Clamshell (see above), the Alba Clamshell's shellfish-like flavour is even more pronounced. Perfect with fish and seafood, it also pairs well with garlic, olive oil, tomato, red peppers, and citrus juices. And a crisp Sauvignon Blanc.
In the wild, the wonderfully curvy, graceful heads of Maitake Frondosa can grow to over a foot in diameter. Harvested small, however, gives a mushroom with a concentrated forest aroma and a rich flavour. A staple of traditional Chinese medicine and Asian cooking, these mushrooms have a light, crunchy texture, and go great with roasted meats and chicken, leafy greens, hearty grains, and cheeses.
A majestic looking mushroom, Trumpet Royales look and taste like a King. A great substitute for wild mushrooms, these have a wonderful savour flavour and a firm, meaty textures that makes them perfect for grilling, braising, and stewing. They are also hugely versatile – slice into medallions and sear like scallops; sauté with butter, grill or roast with olive oil. Pairs well with Chardonnay or, if eating with meats, Zinfandel.
And if you can’t make your mind up, why not try our Chef Sampler pack, an 8 oz. speciality mix containing four of the above (the precise make up depends on the season and availability)? Get some ‘shroom variety in your life, and add a few of these to your cart today.