Do not buy fresh mushrooms of anyone who is not thoroughly versed in mushroom lore and understands the marked points of difference between the edible and poisonous varieties.
There is a great deal of controversy and “they say” in reference to the subject, but it is safest to trust to a first class dealer in dire fruits and vegetables if you have not a lifelong acquaintance with mushroom pastures, where you have enjoyed gathering these delicious and perishable edibles year after year.
There is so much to be explained to the novice in order to make clear when a mushroom may be a toadstool, or a toadstool becomes a mushroom, because the term “‘mushroom” does not belong to one certain variety of the group of fungi. In different sections of the country, there is found a certain variety of edible fungi made safe and approved of by the common people. This variety they call a true mushroom, rejecting all others as toadstools, while some of their rejected toadstools are the favorite mushroom of some other section. The only reliable way to distinguish the edible trom the poisonous is to be well versed in their chief points of difference, such as general appearance and habitat. And care should be observed in gathering only the fresh, tender growth.
Always break the stems from the main part of the mushroom and look carefully to see if there are any tiny white worms at the base. In wet weather, sometimes even the half-grown mushrooms are wormy. Throw away these, as they are not fit to use. The stems are not so tender and digestible as the tops, and should be chopped rather fine or sliced thin if they are cooked with the tops, or reserve the stems for flavoring soups or sauce.
1. Baked mushrooms
Hold the mushrooms by the stem and dip into boiling hot water a moment to loosen the skins, then peel and cut off the stems. Boil the parings and stems and strain. Add this water to the mushrooms (chopped fine); add parsley and stew about 40 minutes. Beat six eggs and add them to the mushrooms and then pour the mixture into a buttered pan or cups and bake in a quick oven. Serve with a cream sauce.
2. Broiled mushrooms
Wash and wipe them well and sprinkle with salt and pepper, removing the stems. Lay in a fine wire broiler and broil over a clear fire until they are tender and juicy-looking. Then lay on rounds of bread toasted on one side only. Melt two pounds of butter and saute in it one cup chopped mushrooms, using the stems in this way. Season to taste with salt and pepper and add one-quarter cup heavy cream. Reheat and pour over the mushrooms and toast.
3. Mushrooms cooked under a glass bell
lndividual dishes can be used on one large dish. Cut rounds of bread the size of the mushrooms and toast nicely. Cover the bottom of the dish with these and place three or four washed and stemmed mushroom caps on each slice of toast, heaping them up in the center. Baste with melted butter, dredge with salt and pepper and pour over them a small quantity of good, sweet cream — about six or eight tablespoons. Cover with the bell-shaped glass and stand in the oven for about 20 minutes to bake. Send to the table without uncovering, as thus you preserve the rich, fine flavor of the mushrooms.
4. Stuffed mushrooms
Wash a dozen large, fresh mushrooms and break off the stems. Chop these fine. Peel the caps of the mushrooms. Melt three tablespoons of butter in a porcelain-lined or earthen saute pan; add a level tablespoon of finely-minced shallot and the minced stems and stew gently for 10 minutes. Then add one and a half tablespoons flour, a grating of nutmeg and veal or chicken stock to moisten. A little cream will do if you have no stock. Season with salt and pepper and a teaspoon of minced parsley. Let the mixture cool, then stuff the caps with it, heaping up and well-rounding them. Cover with fine buttered bread crumbs and bake in a hot oven for 15 min utes. Serve at once.
5. Mushrooms and spaghetti
Boil a half pound of spaghetti in plenty of water (salted) until tender. Put one pint of water in a saucepan with juice of a half lemon, a teaspoon salt, and half as much pepper. When it boils, add a quart of mushrooms and cook five minutes. Beat three eggs and stir them in; then remove at once from the fire. Drain the spaghetti and put a layer in the bottom of a baking dish, then a layer of the mushrooms and fill the dish up in this way, leaving mushrooms on top. Place in a hot oven to bake for five minutes.
6. Mushrooms with marrow
This dish is a favorite in some restaurants. Have the meat dealer split a shinbone and remove the marrow and cut this into inch thick slices. Then boil it forone and a half minutes in a quart of salted water, using a teaspoon of salt. Into a frying pan put a tablespoon of butter and let get hot; then add five tablespoons of chopped mushrooms and toss for five minutes. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Drain the marrow, squeeze over it 10 drops of lemon juice and then mix with it the mushrooms. Spread on hot slices of crisp toast and serve at once.
7. Mushroom omelet recipe
Cook a dozen small, evenly-sized mushrooms in saucepan with a half ounce of butter and a half saltspoon of salt sprinkled over them. Make a plain French omelet, and as it cooks, at the edges place the mushrooms over one half of it, fold over the other half and slip from the pan into a hot dish and serve at once.
8. Mushrooms and lamb’s kidney
Slice one lamb’s kidney and saute in melted butter. Skim out of the butter and saute a dozen large mushrooms in the same butter, having washed and sliced them. Melt two tablespoons butter, add two tablespoons flour, one and a half cups tomato, a few drops of onion juice, one and a half teaspoons Worcestershire sauce, a half teaspoon salt and a dash of pepper. Cook 10 minutes; add mushrooms and kidney and cook gently until the kidney is tender. Serve in the center of a hot platter with a border of plain boiled rice or spaghetti and a cream sauce.
9. Mushrooms and oysters
Select large tender mushrooms. Wash well, remove stems and peel. Saute the caps in butter, using an enameled pan or earthen pie plate. Then arrange in a shallow baking dish with the hollow side up. Place in each a fine, fat oyster, dust with salt and cayenne and lay a small slice of butter on each and cook in the hot oven until the oysters plump up and the gills begin to curl. Serve with a spoon of sauce, bechamel or brown butter sauce poured over each.
10. Mushroom patties
Make a good forcemeat of chicken or cold roast beef, and fill prepared mushroom caps that are all of the same size. First wash, peel and stem then, chopping the stem and mixing with the saute the caps in butter. Fill with the forcemeat and put together to form a ball. Cover with a thick cream sauce, then with bread crumbs dipped into beaten eggs and again cover with crumbs. Lay in a fine wire basket and fry in deep hot fat until nicely brown. Serve with sauce allemanda.
Recipes from Lillian G Graham, San Mateo / Photo courtesy mushroominfo.com