If you like average mushrooms, you’ll love their gourmet counterparts–they’re variously meaty, woodsy, fruity, crunchy, or earthy, and they’re all positively succulent. Portobellos, shiitakes, morels, and the near-holy truffle are popping up in restaurants, and gourmet markets like–well, like mushrooms after rain. We’ll introduce you to some of the monarchs of the fungal kingdom.
The item we know as a mushroom is the fruit of a fungus whose threadlike body lies in the bark, earth, or leaf litter from which the mushroom springs. There are thousands of species of edible mushrooms worldwide, each with its partisans. “Gourmet” mushrooms may be either cultivated or wild, but they have in conventional a agreed-upon superiority in flavor and texture. Those discussed in this 2torial include some of the most famous mushrooms currently available in restaurants and gourmet markets.
About safety: Unless you’re with an experienced mushroom gatherer, don’t go out into the woods to pick your own. Edible mushrooms often have poisonous counterparts that are so similar in appearance that even the best field guide with the most explicit pictures won’t necessarily steer you right. Limit your mushroom-hunting adventures to the aisles of your favorite gourmet shop.
About names: Since the same species of mushroom can have many familiar names, we’ve provided both the scientific name and one or two of the more popular standard names for each mushroom mentioned.