Cleaning mushrooms can be tricky. Mushrooms are pulled straight from the earth so they’re typically dirty when you bring them home from the grocery store. Dirt aside, rinsing your mushrooms, which are made primarily of water, may not be the best solution.
Mushrooms have an extremely high water content, somewhere around 85%, so introducing any additional moisture, even from a quick rinse, can leave them soggy. The best way to clean your mushrooms is to gently wipe away the dirt with a damp paper towel. You can get them clean without drowning them. There will be some instances where the ratio of dirt to mushroom is so high a paper towel won’t do the trick and you’ll have to rinse them. Your goal in this instance should be to rinse them quickly and immediately pat them dry.
Three Tips for Perfectly Sauteed Mushrooms
Not much beats perfectly sautéed mushrooms — crisp around the edges, yet deliciously rich and moist in the center. There are three key things to remember to get yoursautéed mushrooms right every time.
1. Make sure your pan is hot-hot-hot! You should hear a grand sizzle when you add your mushrooms to the pan. The high heat is necessary to get rid of the moisture the mushrooms will release when they’re heated and to brown and crisp them.
2. Spread the mushrooms out in one even layer on the bottom of the pan. This will help the mushrooms brown evenly and prevent you from overloading your pan. The more food you add to the pan, the lower the temperature of the pan drops. A lower temperature won’t give you the heat you need to brown and crisp your mushrooms and the pan won’t be hot enough to evaporate the water the mushrooms release as they cook. If your pan’s not big enough to hold the mushrooms in one layer, sauté them in batches.
3. Once you’ve got the mushrooms spread in one even layer in a hot pan, LEAVE THEM ALONE! Resist the temptation to stir the mushrooms for the first few minutes, until they start to brown. Moving the ‘shrooms around in the pan interrupts the cooking process so it will take longer for them to cook and they won’t brown or crisp properly.