Mushrooms should be cleaned with a soft dry brush to remove soil. They can be refrigerated in a paper bag for up to one week. Cooked mushrooms can be placed in airtight containers and frozen for later use. Slow defrosting will help prevent these water packed beauties (80-90% water) from turning mushy. When using dried mushrooms, use 1 cup of boiling water for every 1 ounce of dried mushroom (1 ounce dried=1/2 pound fresh) and soak for ½ hour. All of those precious B vitamins will leach into the soaking liquid, so be sure to use that liquid in your cooking if possible!

For some simple ways to incorporate mushrooms into your diet, try the following:

Create a mushroom relish by sautéing finely chopped wild mushrooms, scallions, and minced garlic in extra-virgin olive oil. Add a tiny bit of balsamic vinegar and serve as a condiment with chicken, fish, burgers, or sandwiches. Use mushrooms as a “filler” when making turkey meatloaf or burgers. Not only does this up the nutritional ante, it also adds moisture to the finished product! Grind dried mushrooms to a powder and mix with panko or whole wheat bread crumbs to coat chicken, fish, or veggies before sautéing.


4 large portobello caps

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper, divided

1 cup part- skim ricotta cheese

1 cup finely chopped fresh spinach

½ cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese, divided

2 tablespoons finely chopped kalamata olives

½ teaspoon Italian seasoning

¾ cup prepared marinara sauce

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Coat a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray. Place mushroom caps, gill-side up on the prepared pan. Sprinkle with salt and half of the pepper. Roast until tender, about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, mash ricotta, spinach, ¼ cup Parmesan, olives, Italian seasoning, and remaining pepper in medium bowl. Heat marinara sauce in saucepan or microwave oven. When mushrooms are tender, carefully pour out any liquid that has accumulated in the caps. Spread 1 tablespoon of marinara on each cap. Mound a generous 1/3 cup ricotta mixture into each cap and sprinkle with remaining Parmesan. Bake until hot, about 10 minutes. Serve with remaining marinara sauce. Serves 4.

LUCKY CHINESE SOUP (adapted from Health, January/February, 2007)

3 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth

½ cup thinly sliced shiitake mushroom caps

1 cup cubed firm tofu (about 6 ounces)

½ tablespoon fish sauce (Nam Pla)

1 large egg, beaten

¼ cup minced green onions

½ teaspoon dark sesame oil

¼- ½ teaspoon chili oil

¼- ½ teaspoon black pepper

¼ teaspoon sugar

Bring broth to boil in covered 2-quart saucepan. Add mushroom slices and tofu and return to boil, cooking, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in the remaining ingredients. Makes 4 servings.


2 tablespoons dried porcini mushrooms

2 tablespoons butter

1 large onion, thinly sliced

2 ribs celery with leaves, diced

¼ cup parsley

1 carrot, peeled and sliced

3 garlic cloves, chopped

1 pound fresh porcini or other mushroom

1 tablespoon flour

2 quarts beef broth or water

1 cup whole barley

2 teaspoons salt

Soak the mushrooms in enough hot water to cover for a half hour. Strain through a filter, reserving soaking liquid. Coarsely chop the dried mushrooms. Melt butter in a stockpot and sauté the onion, celery, 2 tablespoons parsley, carrot, garlic, and fresh mushrooms until soft, about 5 minutes. Lower the heat and add the flour stirring every 30 seconds for about 5 minutes until thick. Heat the broth or water in a soup pot and add a cup of the mushroom mixture at a time to the pot, stirring after each addition. Turn the heat to high and add the reserved mushroom water and barley. Add salt to taste. Simmer, covered, for about one hour or until the barley is tender and the soup is thickened. Stir frequently. Makes 6-8 servings.


For Dressing:

1 tablespoon each of orange juice, grapefruit juice, and lime juice

1 teaspoon finely chopped grapefruit zest

1 teaspoon finely chopped orange zest

1 teaspoon finely chopped lime zest

3 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar

2 tablespoons mirin

¼ cup reduced-sodium soy sauce

Pinch sugar

For Salad:

12 shiitake mushrooms, cleaned and stems removed

Peanut oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

4 cups mizuna leaves

Combine dressing ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Remove from heat, let cook to room temperature, then refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. In the meantime, heat grill to high.

Brush mushrooms with oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill for 3-4 minutes per side or until just cooked through. Remove from heat and tear into rough pieces. Place mizuna in large bowl and toss with a few tablespoons of the chilled dressing. Season with pepper, to taste. Add mushrooms to bowl, toss, and drizzle with more of the dressing. Cooked shrimp or chicken would make a nice addition to this delicate salad.

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  1. Thanks that was a great read. I can’t believe it myself, but it’s my wife’s and my 10th anniversary next weekend. We met in Italy, and we had some incredible shrimp salad in this little cafe in Rome. I’ve been looking all over the web for a decent sounding recipe to see if I can make something myself, and I even found a shrimp salad recipes homepage dedicated to them! Thought you might like to know, you can find anything on the net nowadays it seems!

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