The Mushroom Kingdom

A guide to edible mushrooms in the fungi universe

Which mushrooms rule? It depends on the use and whether you’re after cultivated or wild varieties. Nearly all fresh mushrooms love a saute in butter or olive oil (with or without garlic or shallots) with splash of wine, madeira or other spirit and an herb (thyme is a favorite). Raw is on the rise, while the soaking liquid for dry varieties adds body to a dish.

Some of the most popular mushroom finds:

Royal Trumpet 
This thick mushroom is almost all stem; firm with a nutty flavor, it’s known for a long shelf life.

Chanterelle (pictured above)
Once available only through foragers, this luxury mushroom is now widely cultivated. A favorite in French cooking, it works its magic in any cuisine with a delicate flavor and striated orange appearance.

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Morel
Perhaps the most luxurious (and expensive) wild mushroom, it has a dark, elongated cap that looks perforated.

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Lobster 
Its color and seafood-like aroma easily explain why this fungus that grows on mushrooms is named after the crustacean. It pairs particularly well with seafood or meat dishes.

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Maitake
Also known as hen-of-the-woods, this cultivated variety grows in flaky gray-and-white masses that can be cooked by lightly searing; it’s also said to aid the immune system.