You wouldn’t want to eat the mushrooms pictured here. I snapped this picture in the backyard. But that’s okay because there are so many edible varieties to choose from instead. Mushrooms are mostly water, a good source of B vitamins and essential minerals, and are reputed to have healing properties. But I’m interested in flavor and I want to recommend a few different ways to enjoy mushrooms.
Last holiday season I served a Mushroom Wellington that was a big hit. Wellingtons take a little time, but not overly much and not overly complicated. They look elegant, are adaptable to the ingredients you have on hand and are pleasantly filling. You can find dozens of recipes on line. I prefer to keep it simple and tasty. Buy prepared vegan pastry/phyllo sheets, use portobellos or a combo of button and portobellos. If you want to mix in other varieties, choose those that will stand up to a sauté followed by baking. I sauté onions and mushrooms in Earth Balance buttery spread until the onions are caramelized. Spread Dijon or other robust mustard on one side of the pastry sheet, fill with spinach and the onion and mushrooms and roll it into a log. Substitute Ener-G for an egg to make a wash and brush it on the outer side of the pastry. Makes a great main dish.
Since you’ve got the phyllo sheets out, try Angela Liddon’s Mushroom Walnut Pesto Tart. Cremini Mushrooms, walnuts, olive oil and garlic. Easy, eye pleasing and delicious. You can find Angela’s recipe and blog at http://ohsheglows.com/2011/09/26/mushroom-walnut-pesto-tart-for-mushroom-masters-challenge
Tired of hummus? Try a Mushroom Pate. This is another recipe for which you’ll find many variations. One that I favor again combines mushrooms with walnuts. Toss in some cannelloni beans, tarragon and thyme and you’ve got one delish appetizer. You can find this recipe at Planet Green. They call for cremini, but button mushrooms were just as good. http://video.planetgreen.discovery.com/food-health/walnut-mushroom-pate.html
Grilled portobellos are nice in summer with standard picnic fare like slaw (with Veganaise) and corn on the cob. But please don’t make the mistake of over-marinating them. Balsamic vinegar is the standard marinade and what you’ll most often taste when you order grilled portobello at a restaurant. If you over-do it, all you’ll be left with is the flavor of the vinegar. Ever get too much vinegar in a bite of salad and found it hard to catch your breath? Well, that’s just what will happen with the mushroom. Many restaurants make this mistake. If you’ve had this experience, don’t give up on the mushroom. Give up on the restaurant. Try it at home and don’t be heavy-handed with the vinegar and don’t let them sit very long in it.
These dishes are flavorful and have lots of body. Your guests won’t even notice there are no dead animals.