Here’s how to add a healthy spin to mushrooms.
Mushrooms: delicious, low in calories, relatively easy to cook. But also: mushrooms are like sponges, absorbing an absurd amount of fat as they cook. What does this mean, in practical terms? It means that they may dry out and burn too quickly, forcing you to add more fat, and then more fat, and then, yes, more fat, until your dish is more fat than actual fungus.
So what’s the best way to cook mushrooms while keeping the health factor high? First of all, don’t forget to salt (and pepper) your mushrooms as you cook them. Adding salt allows your mushrooms to shed some of their water, which means they won’t stick to the pan, which means, in turn, that you’ll need less fat.
For sautéed mushrooms, try using a Non Stick pan. Amplify the flavor with aromatics, like garlic, shallots, and thyme, instead of added fat.
You can also boost flavor with healthier fats, like olive oil, which is a monounsaturated fat that is proven to be better for heart health (unlike butter, a saturated fat). Some other healthy fats to consider, in lieu of butter or animal-based fats, are canola oil, avocado oil, flaxseed oil, walnut oil, and, if you’re feeling adventurous, coconut oil.
To achieve browning on mushrooms, heat oil until it ripples, add the mushrooms, and cook until brown before seasoning. Mushrooms cooked in Carbon Steel Pans are more likely to achieve a deep and even brown.
You can diversify by adding different types of mushrooms, which have different kinds of water content, like oyster mushrooms, cremini mushrooms, and white button mushrooms. For contrasting texture, cut mushrooms into different shapes and sizes.
Of course, you can also cook with dried mushrooms instead of fresh, and using dried mushrooms is a good way to limit the use of added fat in your meal. Dried mushrooms can be reconstituted in hot water and then be chopped and added to your favorite side dish, like risotto.
Use the resulting water as a broth for flavoring soups–or your risotto. Dried, reconstituted mushrooms can also be folded into a mushroom sauté for added depth.
If the color of your mushrooms isn’t all that important to you, consider a quick toss in a Made In Non Stick Pan. Then, add some beef or mushroom stock, a little thyme, and allow the mushrooms to cook. The liquid will reduce and the mushrooms will absorb the juices in the pan, making for a delicious side dish that is as delicious as it is healthy.
Add a quick, small swirl of butter at the end for a decadent finishing touch and a garnish of thyme and parsley for some fresh greenery, et voila: dinner is served.
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