Sautéed mushrooms make an excellent side dish and also add delicious flavor to many other dishes.
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There could be a few reasons for this but I think the issue could be that the mushrooms were not fresh enough. Mushrooms (such as button mushrooms) that are not very fresh will discolor when they are cooked.
I don't think it's that you are sauteing them too long or that the heat is too low.
Next time buy some mushrooms. Make sure they are firm and nice and white in color. Also buy a lemon while you are at it. Then saute the mushrooms that same day and while they start to cook squeeze a bit of lemon juice over them. The lemon juice helps to keep the mushrooms white and bright.
For more information and tips with sauteing in general, go the Lesson on Sauteing in the Rouxbe Cooking School. It is best to watch the whole lesson to really understand, but Topic 5 at around 2:15 talks specifically about sauteing mushrooms. Good luck!
Actually, these really are "baby" portobellos. I'm just glad no one has thought to market them as such, and thus make them three times as expensive.
In any event, if mushroom flavor is your goal, as for mushroom soup, use the brown ones. If you just want the texture, but not the flavor, use the white ones.
And, if you want gbd mushrooms, definitely use higher heat. You can start off with the heat a medium low, to get the butter to melt, and the flavors to marry, but then turn it up to medium high to finish. Just keep them moving, and definitely don't walk away at this point. :)
1. mushrooms can't brown if the liquid doesn't have a chance to evaporate quickly. the biggest cause of this is OVER CROWDING! your shrooms should be in a single layer. too many mushrooms in a pan makes more liquid than can evaporate to get that lovely golden brown color.
2. i heard portabellos came to be when producers had a surplus of over grown brown crimini mushrooms... the name is made up. and i have also seen brown crimini mushrooms labeled for sale as 'baby portabellos.'
About Portobello and Cremini
The food experts generally agree on three points when it comes to the history of portabellas:
1. This meaty mushroom is an American invention with Italian roots (spores, actually) made popular by clever marketing in the late 1980s/early 1990s. Both cremini and portobello mushrooms are first mentioned in the New York Times during the mid 1980s.
2. There are several theories regarding the name. Although these mushrooms are also currently enjoyed in fine dining establishments of Central/South America, there is no apparent connection between the town of Portobelo (Panama) the origination of the name or item.
3. There is no definitive spelling of this fungus. According to Google (not a scientific, but a popular survey), Portobello is preferred (169,000), followed by portabella (33,100) and portobella (3, 510).
"By the late 1800s...Italian growers also cultivated the common mushroom but preferring the brown-capped variety, which are often called cremini mushrooms (or Italian brown) and have an earthy flavor that is fine for soups and stews and for stuffing. The large and beefy Portabello (also Roma) is actually a fully grown cremini, with dense and meaty flesh that lends itself nicely to grilling or roasting. Originally, crimini mushrooms were imported from Italy, but now they are cultivated in the United States."
---Cambridge World History of Food, Kenneth F. Kiple & Kriemhild Conee Ornelas [Cambridge University Press: Cambridge] 2000 Volume Two (p. 1818)
"The name "portobello" began to be used in the 1980s as a brilliant marketing ploy to popularize an unglamorous mushroom that, more often than not, had to be disposed of because growers couldn't sell them."
---The New Food Lover's Companion, Sharon Tyler Herbst, 3rd edition [Barrons:New York] 2001 (p. 485)
"Portobellos are popping up on the nation's menus like mushrooms after a spring rain. From soups and salads to sandwiches and entrees, the portobellos are everywhere. "It's a phenomenon in the food business," says Wade Whitfield of the Mushroom Council, an industry trade group in Roseville, Calif. "This thing has gone from nearly zero in 1993 to a predicted 30 million pounds this year. It's a major item. It will be the largest specialty mushroom." And chefs have found portobellos their own specialty. Whitfield of the Mushroom Council said no one can put their finger on the precise development of the portobello. "I've talked to several growers, and one said that he almost got fired once for growing those things," Whitfield notes. "They are really culls. You didn't want them in the mushroom bed. He would throw them away. There was no market. Growers would take them home."Farges adds that most of the mushroom farmers, many in southeastern Pennsylvania, were of Italian origin. They originally produced brown mushrooms, but the public clamored for the white button variety because it was clean and pristine. In the 1960s and 1970s, with the back-to-earth movement, the growers again started producing the browns. "They are sometimes called Romans, cremini or browns," Farges explains. "It has a much meatier flavor. It became a gourmet item. By accident, they found that if you let it grow, it would grow into a portobello." White mushrooms are still 90 percent of the supply, but portobellos have taken a bite of the market in the past four years. "More growers are converting operations from white to portobellos in their mushroom houses," says Whitfield, adding that the move leads to a reduction in price. With the increased popularity, however, comes a disagreement over the spelling of portobellos. Whitfield explains: "A great deal of the growers are of Italian descent. I don't know who named it, but I understand portabella means 'beautiful door.' With an instead of an 'a' in porto, it means 'beautiful port.'" The Mushroom Council prefers portabella, says Whitfield, but that's open to dispute. "To be honest, I've been here two and a half years, and portobellos were just coming on the scene," he says. "We had five varieties, and portobellos became the sixth. I got to the sticky little point of 'How do you spell it?' O's or A's? At the time I could identify six shippers who were selling portobellos. I called all six of them, and asked, 'How do you spell portobello?' Four out of six spelled it portabella."
---FOR MANY CHEFS, IT'S SUNRISE FOR PORTOBELLOS , By: Ruggless, Ron, Nation'sRestaurant News, 00280518, 5/13/96, Vol. 30, Issue 19
Although this recipe looks great, I prefer a different recipe that I learned from a neighbor (who is Italian). I heat butter in a small skillet, then add the mushrooms when it is hot. I add some red wine, salt, and pepper and I cook them for a very short amount of time. They turn out delicious every time and go great with any kind of grilled steak. In the summertime, I grill the mushrooms using aluminum foil to hold the delicious sauce with the mushrooms. It is absolutely delicious and healthy (ignore the butter for this statement).
Would I saute dried mushrooms after reconstitution the same way or is there anything else I should be doing with them. I have dried Morels, porcinis, and black trumpets. They come out delicious when I just throw them in with a braising liquid, but i'm left feeling "meh" when I just try a saute.
Reconstituted mushrooms generally do not sauté well. They just don't perform the same as fresh mushrooms. The fresh mushroom are more moist and plump. Dried mushrooms, even after soaking do not ever get back their original moisture. They are also often too wet to sauté and even if you dried them in paper towels, the results would not be the same.
You will have better luck, if you sweat the mushrooms (along with your other mirepoix). This will help to draw out their delicious flavor. Hope that helps. Cheers!
Butter burns at a lower temperature than most oils, so if you want to saute over high heat, use oil first (and finish with butter) or use clarified butter (which has a higher smoke point). Mercury ball test heat is too hot for plain butter. Good luck, ~Ken
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