Dried mushrooms are a cook's secret weapon. They keep for months in your cupboard; when you need them, just plump them up in hot water, strain and cook (and the savory soaking liquid is as valuable as the mushrooms themselves, especially for risotto). The most popular are porcini and morel, but while porcini cost $8 to $10 for 2 ounces, morels, which grow wild, fetch around $34 for the same amount. Porcini still have an intense, smoky flavor and are particularly good in pasta dishes and omelets, with garlic and fresh flat-leaf parsley or thyme.
Switch and save: $26 per pound