Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Pick of the Week: Mushrooms

Week seven of's list of 13 super foods, which means I am more than halfway through the list. So far, all the foods are my favorites, the ones I eat at least once each week. And today. mushrooms, is no exception. One of my children does not eat mushrooms, and I have to admit I have no idea why. Mushrooms are terrific, a perfect side dish, or a wonderful ingredient in all so many recipes.

Everyday Health chose mushrooms, citing Eastern medicine's claims that mushrooms have powerful effects on the immune system – especially the maitake, shiitake, and reishi varieties. The Web site says that maitake helps prevent and treat cancer, viral diseases, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure. In fact, mushrooms are used as a complementary cancer treatment throughout Asia because of their ability to counteract the toxic effects of chemotherapy and radiation while simultaneously shrinking tumors. What's more, Japanese researchers have found that regularly eating shiitake mushrooms lowers blood cholesterol levels up to 45 percent.

The problem is that these mushrooms are often hard to find. Dried versions, which need to be reconstituted, are terrific substitutions.

Chosing: Mushrooms should be firm and plump, with no bruises or soft spots. Never choose -- or eat -- slimy mushrooms.

Storing: You really should eat mushrooms within two, three days tops of bringing them home. Store mushrooms, unwashed, in the packaging they come in.

Preparing: To wash or not to wash? Mushrooms are like sponges, so you really never want to soak them. Purists wipe each mushroom with a damp cloth, but if I had to do that, I would never eat mushrooms. I rinse each lightly, and dry well with a paper towel. I do this right before cooking, and I don't think my mushrooms suffer.

One of my favorite recipes is to clean a large portobello cap, fill it with marinara sauce, top with shredded mozzarella, and sprinkle with dried oregano, fresh basil and granulated garlic, and bake it at 350 degrees about 20 minutes. It's my wheat-free version of pizza.

4 portobello caps
2 Tblsp. soy sauce
2 Tblsp. dark sesame oil
1 Tblsp. minced ginger root
2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Preheat the broiler; rack should be about 6 inches from the heat source.
  • Wash mushrooms, cleaning out the centers. Place on a baking sheet, with top sides of the mushrooms facing down.
  • Whisk together all ingredients until well mixed.
  • Brush evenly over mushrooms.
  • Broil the mushrooms about 10 minutes, until they soften a bit. Terrific served with grilled chicken, fish or beef.


  1. Good as the grilled mushrooms sound, I can hardly wait to try your Porto-Pizza! That sounds outrageously good!

  2. Love grilled mushrooms! But we've always really done it simple and without any spice or marinade or sauce. Hehe, maybe next time we should try it your way! :-) thanks for the tip!

  3. Sauted mushrooms are my favorite! I need a better way to store them though as they go bad so quickly.