Trends: Spring Up Like Mushrooms

With their meaty texture and umami-rich flavor, mushrooms have long been a staple flavoring agent for poultry, meats, and savory sauces—but coffee? Pate? Cocktails? Brownies? Mushrooms are seeing a new dawn in the most unexpected places.

  • For centuries, the medicinal properties of these fungi have been touted. Their aura of health fits well with today’s quest for nutrient-dense diets.
  • Although they may not be magical, mushrooms do contain a wide range of nutrients such as copper, manganese, niacin, selenium, riboflavin, and several B vitamins.
  • By replacing roasted and wild mushrooms and toasted walnuts for liver in pate recipes, chefs achieve the same rich flavor and smooth texture with less fat and cholesterol.
  • The earth-friendlier burger trend of blending one-third minced mushrooms in with your meat of choice has caught fire. The method is a win-win by reducing caloric intake as well as lowering protein costs.
  • Some chefs are roasting, dehydrating, and pulverizing mushroom varieties like Crimini, Shiitake, and Porcini into savory powders then sprinkling atop vegetables, cocktails, and coffees to boost the umami factor.
  • Using mushrooms in chocolate dessert dishes like dense cakes and rich puddings can add complexity. Try dusting creme brulee with Shiitake powder before torching for mysterious depth.