The Nutritionist’s Guide to Getting the Most Out of Mushrooms

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1) ‘CHAMPIS FOR IMPROVEMENT

Nearly 70% of the mushrooms we buy in supermarkets are white buds. But it’s peak season for mushroom hunting right now, so branch out with the help of chef Morris Wegrodzki, who specializes in vegetables. The meaty texture and mineral load of the mushroom makes any variety a star ingredient, whether you’re vegan, vegetarian, or just, uh, hungry. Add magic to your meal with Wegrodzki’s top picks.

Cremini
This humble ingredient is your ally in the fight against one of man’s biggest killers: heart disease. Packed with the antioxidant ergothioneine, one serving will help reduce your risk of cardiovascular problems.

Oyster
A mild-tasting option that contains more iron than most other varieties, this mushroom will improve blood supply to your muscles to support your performance in the gym. It mainly associates
good with crisp white wine, too.

Shiitake
The tender cap of the shiitake has a woody taste that complements Asian flavors. With more than double the satiating fiber content of white buds, consider this a tastier weight loss supplement.

maitake
Save this one for the morning after the night before. Fry a handful and serve with a slice of buttery toast – their naturally high levels of the antioxidant glutathione will help support liver function.

2) GUARDIANS OF THE FINDERS

When foraging, be sure to handle ingredients gently to protect their flavor and avoid breaking down their nutrients. “Don’t tear them, cut them,” advises Wegrodzki. The best tool to use is a mushroom knife and brush combo (£45, farrar-tanner.co.uk). Next, place your loot in a wide, shallow trug (£22, thebasketcompany.com). “This allows your mushrooms to spread out and prevents them from crashing.” Don’t wash them either (“they’ll get slimy”) – that’s what your knife brush is for. Once in the kitchen, place a large nonstick skillet
over medium heat and add a handful of mushrooms at a time. Be careful not to clutter the pan; cooking too many at once can cause them to steam in their juices rather than saute them. Patience is key – stir occasionally and only remove when your mushrooms are no longer producing moisture. From the field to the table? You licked it.

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3) CUT IT ALL

As the number of vegans in the UK continues to grow – and with research suggesting that a flexitarian diet can improve both weight loss and heart health – Wegrodzki has designed
four meatless recipes that each give the honest mushroom nutritional hero status
he deserves so much.

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A) Single Rotolo Cremini

For 4 people

  • 2 onions, diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 300g button mushrooms
  • 1L of vegetable broth
  • 4 white potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons of soy cream
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1kg cremini mushrooms
  • 500g long stem broccoli

    Method

    In a skillet, sweat 1 onion and a minced clove of garlic, then add the button mushrooms. Pour in the broth and salt before reserving. Thinly slice the potatoes and combine them with the cream and paprika; Spread on a baking sheet and bake at 180°C for 30 min. For the garnish, sauté the creminis and the rest of the onion and garlic; spread over the baked potato sheet. Roll up, slice and serve with sauce and steamed broccoli.

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    B) Oyster mushroom tortilla

    For 4 people

    • 2 red onions, sliced
    • 3 bell peppers of different colors, sliced
    • 2 garlic cloves, minced
    • 1 kg oyster mushrooms, torn
    • 2 tsp smoked paprika
    • 1 tablespoon of soy sauce
    • 4 tortillas
    • 200g guacamole
    • 200g salsa

      Method

      In a skillet, sauté the onions, peppers, garlic and mushrooms until the mushrooms are tender. Sprinkle with paprika and add the soy sauce, then cook for an additional 2 minutes. To build your tortilla, load it with a generous portion of the mushroom and pepper mixture and a dollop of guacamole and salsa, before wrapping and stuffing it.
      in your mouth. It could get messy.

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      C) Shiitake, green vegetables and sticky rice

      For 4 people

      • 100ml mirin
      • 200ml rice vinegar
      • 40g of sugar
      • 500g sushi rice
      • 2 red onions, diced
      • 1 red pepper, chopped
      • 1 kg shiitake mushrooms
      • 200ml teriyaki sauce
      • 200g cashew nuts
      • 500g pak choi, chopped

        Method

        In a small saucepan, boil the mirin, vinegar and sugar and set aside. Mix the rice and 550 ml of water, simmer until there is no more water, then season with the syrup. While it cools, sauté the onions and chilli, then add the stemmed shiitake caps and cook until soft. Pour in the teriyaki sauce and cook for another 5 mins before crushing the cashews and adding them with the pak choi, then stir for another 2 mins. Serve with sticky rice.

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        D) Lightly spiced maitake on toast

        For 4 people

        • 1 shallot, sliced
        • 1 tablespoon olive oil
        • 500 g maitake mushrooms, sliced
        • Pinch of smoked paprika
        • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
        • 4 slices sourdough, toasted
        • 1 tablespoon of capers
        • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley

          Method

          In a skillet over medium heat, brown the shallot in a drizzle of oil. Once it has softened, toss your mushrooms in with a pinch of paprika. Allow most of the water to evaporate before pouring in the sherry vinegar to deglaze. Then toast your sourdough slices and serve your mushrooms on top. Finish with a pinch of salted capers and parsley and devour everything while it is still hot.

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