How To Cook Mushrooms on the Stovetop

Now is the season for mushrooms, so get out to your local market and see what’s on offer! Better still is to get up at the crack of dawn and get mushrooming in the fields and forests. There are so many beautiful varieties, from the common button mushroom to more flamboyant types such as the Oyster or the almost coral-like Enoki mushroom. So when you tire of meat and vegetables, why not explore this fantastic arena of taste sensations and choose a mushroom dish?

Preparing a great-tasting mushroom dish is in many ways a delicate operation that with just a little care and attention can elevate an average plate of food. Like so many foods, including fresh fish, mushrooms don’t need much time to cook but getting everything plated up in a professional manner is the difference between a memorable meal and something that is just passable.

So here are our top tips on how to cook and prepare the perfect mushroom dishes on a stovetop!

Prepping Your Mushrooms

One critical point to remember is that it is naturally a good idea to clean your mushrooms before cooking to avoid any dirt or debris entering your food. However, it is really vital whatever you do to try and avoid the mushrooms getting too wet as what we really want is to prevent too much liquid in the delicate cooking stages.

A quick rinse in cold water is fine but just make sure to dry off most of the remaining moisture with a dry cloth or kitchen paper roll. Remember we are trying to avoid mushrooms becoming wet and soggy.

After a rinse then, depending on the size and shape of the mushroom, half or quarter it with a chopping knife. This instruction is for cooking a more standard mushroom like the Button or Cremini.

The Key to Browning!

Now heat up a pan, your choice whether you use a non-stick or cast iron, add some butter or good olive oil and then sear the mushrooms on one side. Now, here is the key to a great mushroom, do not stir or move the mushroom for a minute or two! The reason for this is that it really adds a lot to the flavour if you can sear the outside, which will also produce a great golden brown colour. The pan should ideally be sizzling the whole time so that it is hot enough that most of the liquid quickly evaporates and so that the mushrooms can brown and caramelize to a rich and tender delight. After a few minutes and when cooked through then, depending on your dish, you may add a bit more butter or a drop of white wine or even sherry to add some extra richness.

Mushroom Shopping!

The variety of seasonal mushrooms is really fantastic these days, but much easier if you live nearby a good fruit and vegetable market. So which type to buy really depends on your cooking aims and recipes.

The standard for most chefs is the Button mushroom, but why not get creative and enjoy Shiitake in Japanese, Chinese or Korean-inspired dishes. Oyster mushrooms would be another excellent suggestion for stovetop cooking. Why not add this type of mushroom instead of meat to a meal as they have a very satisfying and subtle taste?

Final Thoughts on Mushrooms

The funny thing about mushrooms is that yes, you can eat them raw, but when cooking them, they should be cooked all the way through and if you follow our suggestions above, release the sweet earthy flavours known technically as the Maillard reaction!

This effect on our taste was identified by Louis Camille Maillard in 1910 and encompasses the bitter and caramel flavours of chocolate, roasted nuts and coffee!

Whether you want to eat mushrooms on toast or add them to a casserole dish if you follow the ideas in our guide, you should expect succulent, browned mushroom every time you cook them! Mushrooms are magic as they are low in fat and calories and contain some vital vitamins and minerals!