Let’s tip our cap to the humble yet elegant mushroom, an endlessly adaptable curiosity that’s one of earth’s greatest tricks. There are seemingly as many varieties of these fascinating fungi as there are ways to cook them: Grill a meaty portobello, sauté a many-tendriled enoki in butter and soy sauce, or slice an oyster into delicate frills. Regardless of your method, you’ll be left wanting more.

Illustration: Hennie Haworth

  • Mushrooms are high in umami, the savory, meaty “fifth taste.” When included in a protein-packed meal, it may help you feel more satisfied, according to a small 2014 study out of the University of Sussex in the UK.

  • Choose mushrooms that are slightly moist yet firm, and not slimy. Stems should be tender enough to bend a little.

  • Research has found has found that microwaved or grilled mushrooms retain more antioxidants than their boiled or deep-fried brethren.

Illustration: Hennie Haworth

  • Sliced mushrooms are like small sponges, so rinsing may leave them waterlogged. To remove dirt, clean them individually with a damp paper towel just before cooking.

  • To keep white mushrooms from darkening and to add a tangy zing, slice or dice them, then toss in lemon juice before cooking.

Feeling inspired? Try these recipes:

Photo: Emily Kate Roemer

Mixed-Mushroom Po'Boys

Photo: Emily Kate Roemer

Portobello Mushrooms and Radicchio over Polenta


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