Learn About Shiitake Mushrooms

Author: Chef Sydney

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What are Shiitake Mushrooms?

A shiitake mushroom is a small mushroom originating from Eastern Asia.  They have tan or brown caps, though some caps have crackled patterns.  The underside of the cap and the stem are typically lighter colored.  Shiitake mushrooms may come either fresh or dried.  High-quality fresh shiitake mushrooms feel somewhat dry and firm to the touch.  Their firmness makes them meaty and chewy in texture.

What Do Shiitake Mushrooms Taste Like?

Fresh shiitake mushrooms have a strong, rich flavor.  They taste earthy, meaty, and somewhat buttery.  Dried shiitake mushrooms have a stronger flavor than fresh shiitake mushrooms.

Learn About Shiitake Mushrooms
Shiitake mushrooms on a wooden cutting board.

How Do You Eat Shiitake Mushrooms?

People enjoy shiitake mushrooms raw or cooked, though most people prefer to eat them cooked.  If you use dried shiitake mushrooms in your cooking, make sure to rehydrate them before using them.  Common ways to cook shiitake mushrooms include sauteed, baked, stir-fried, and grilled.  Pasta dishes such as fettuccine alfredo and asiago tortellini work well with shiitake mushrooms.   Shiitake mushrooms pair well with sturdy vegetables such as asparagus, rice or risotto, and chicken and beef.

Where Can You Buy Shiitake Mushrooms?

Look for shiitake mushrooms near the vegetables in the produce section of a well-stocked grocery store.  Shiitake mushrooms may be shrink-wrapped.

How Do You Store Shiitake Mushrooms?

Remove shiitake mushrooms from any packaging.  Wrap them in dry paper towels and transfer the mushrooms to a paper bag.  Place the paper bag in the refrigerator.  Shiitake mushrooms may last for up to a week when stored this way.

Fun Facts About Shiitake Mushrooms

The crackling pattern on some shiitake mushrooms is called “flower mushroom” in Chinese.

Did You Know?

Shiitake mushrooms with a defined crackling pattern are usually highly sought after.  This type of mushroom is considered high-quality.

Recipes Using Shiitake Mushrooms

Fettuccine Alfredo with Mushrooms

Add shiitake mushrooms to your alfredo sauce for extra flavor. Prepare the sauce as normal and cook until the parmesan cheese has melted into the sauce. Then, add the shiitake mushrooms. Combine the sauce and fettuccine noodles and serve with freshly grated parmesan over the top.

Roasted Shiitake Mushrooms

Roast your shiitake mushrooms for an easy side dish. Start with sliced shiitake mushrooms and toss them with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Place them in an even layer on a baking sheet and bake until crispy.

Mushroom Gravy

Make a delicious mushroom gravy to complete meaty dishes. Create a rue sauce with butter, flour, and heavy cream. Then, combine shiitake mushrooms, beef broth, garlic, salt, and pepper in the saucepan. Serve over steak or mashed potatoes.

Rice Pilaf

Jazz up your rice pilaf dishes with shiitake mushrooms. Begin by preparing brown rice until all of the liquid evaporates. Then, stir in shiitake mushrooms, fresh peas, and pine nuts.

Stir-Fried Vegetables

Stir-frying is a quick and easy way to cook different vegetables. Cook broccolini, shiitake mushrooms, and red bell peppers in a skillet. Toss cooked vegetables with soy sauce, ginger, and other spices and serve.

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