Chances are their early experience with was with button mushrooms (Agaricus bisporus) from a can or raw mushroom slices on a salad. The rubbery texture and insipid flavor left a permanent negative imprint.
Raw or undercooked wild mushrooms can cause gastro-intestinal distress. Some benefit from long slow cooking like chanterelle, porcini, morel and matsutake.
Others are best flash sautéd to preserve their more subtle and delicate flavor. Cauliflower mushrooms are best when lightly sauteed, allowing their unique fragrance to envelope the taste buds. Amanita velosa quickly cooked in olive oil is so delicate you’ll want to pair it with delicate foods such as pasta, with a little grated cheese, as to not overpower it.
The texture and taste of wild culinary mushrooms can vary. Some mushrooms don’t have much flavor but offer a certain pleasure in their consistency. Amanitas have a wonderful crunch. Laccaria amethysteo-occidentalis have an amazing chewy texture. Matsutake and chanterelle can have an unpleasant rubbery feel unless cooked properly. Start with the dry saute method for chanterelle, as described in David Arora’s book “All The Rain Promises’. Matsutake will tenderise with a long slow braise. A few mushrooms have a mild seafood flavor such as the shrimp russula (Russula xerampelina), cauliflower mushroom (Sparassis), lions mane (Hericium) and the lobster mushroom (Hypomyces lactiflurom).
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