Mushrooms & Pizza

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by jonk, Jan 14, 2006.

  1. jonk

    jonk

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    We make lots of pizzas, in a very hot oven on a preheated pizza stone. For us, a pizza is an open-faced baked sandwich, so almost anything goes for the toppings (try smoked mozzarella and shredded raddichio over a tomato sauce base--we added leftover shredded roast duck the last time we made this!).

    Usually when I make a pizza that features mushrooms, I saute or sweat the mushrooms first in a bit of olive oil in the belief that this removes moisture and concentrates the flavor.

    But in leafing through the half dozen or so pizza books we have, I see that they are largely split between sauting sliced mushrooms first or just popping them on raw and allowing the 500 degree F oven to do the cooking (in our hands, our thicker crusted pizza is done in about 15 minutes at that temperature).

    I could try the experiment myself, but I'd be interested in the opinions of this wise and experienced group. To saute or not to saute?
     
  2. suzanne

    suzanne

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    I prefer to saute first. I find that the oven heat dries out raw mushrooms in an unpleasant way -- turns them tough and leathery. And if I cover the mushrooms with some other ingredient (sauce, cheese, whatever), then they don't cook.

    BTW: it's not that much trouble for me, because I "put up" sliced mushrooms so I always have some on hand. All I have to do is scoop them from the container, drain them, and they're ready to use!
     
  3. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    I like my pizza vegies cooked. So I saute the mushrooms. And I prefer a roasted pepper to a raw pepper that then dries out in the oven.

    Onion, I can split either way from raw or sauted. Raw i want very thin, if thicker, then a brief saute is in order.

    Phil
     
  4. diego

    diego

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    SUZANNE. Please tell me how you "Put Up" Mushrooms. I frequently have fresh mushrooms left over and they go to waste since I don't know a good way to keep them. Freezing just doesn't cut the mustard.
     
  5. suzanne

    suzanne

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    WARNING: this may give some members conniptions because of the possibility of food-borne illness. :eek: But I've eaten almost all of the mushrooms by now, and I'm still alive to tell the tale. :crazy:

    In the past, when I had extra mushrooms, I would slice or dice them, saute them in a neutral oil, pack them in individual portion containers, and freeze them. Of course, they still had to be in good shape before I cooked them; if they were already slimy or otherwise going bad, I wouldn't do it. Also, I always cleaned them thoroughly before cooking them thoroughly.

    About a year ago, though, I snagged 10 pounds (the equivalent of a case) at a great price. It was all more than I could keep in my freezer even after they cooked down. So after I cooked them, I packed them in screwtop jars while still hot and covered them with a layer of oil before screwing on the lids. Once they were cool (and the vacuum had formed), I stored them in the fridge. If I were TRULY "putting up" the vegs, I would have processed the jars in boiling water or under pressure. But since I keep them refrigerated, I didn't follow that step.

    When I wanted to use some, I'd let the jar warm up a bit so the top layer of oil would reliquefy, spoon out what I needed WITH AN ABSOLUTELY CLEAN SLOTTED SPOON, let the mushrooms drain of extra juice/oil, and add them to my dish as it cooked. Wipe down the inside of the jar and the cover with a clean paper towel, top up the oil if necessary, and back into the fridge. Never letting any other material contaminate the contents is very, very important -- in fact, I was lax with one jar, and had to toss it because mold started growing on something else that had gotten into the jar.

    Some other members will no doubt be aghast at this: that I didn't process the jars, and that I used a layer of oil to keep air off the food. They will say that I was courting botulism. They might be right. Or not. All I can repeat is that I followed all precepts of kitchen cleanliness, used good judgment when faced with the possibility of contaminated food, and am still here. You can make your own decision if you want to try this or not. :)
     
  6. shroomgirl

    shroomgirl

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    pickled with an acid will make them shelf stable too....

    My freezer is full of duxelle....chopped mushrooms, shallots, bourbon and cream, wild shrooms too....
     
  7. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    I've used Helen Witty's techniques for mushroom ketchup and essence. Preserves them well and both are good additions to soups, stews, gravies and such.

    Why not dry them? Safe, efficient stores well?

    Phil
     
  8. suzanne

    suzanne

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    Good point, Phil.

    To get back to the original question: if you want to use dried mushrooms, you should rehydrate them before you put them on the pizza. I've not tried that, but I suspect that you wouldn't have to saute them as well -- just cut up the rehydrated mushrooms into appropriate size pieces and sprinkle them on. Yum! :lips:

    And another way to use dried mushrooms: grind them up to a dust and sprinkle lightly over the whole pie! I may have to try that soon. :D
     
  9. diego

    diego

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    PHATCH: Never tried drying. How do you do it, open on counter, in oven, in paper sack in refrigerator? Then when dried can you store at room temperature?
     
  10. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    You could do it in a low oven-150ish or if gas, the pilot light should suffice. Or in a commercial dehydrator. They're not expensive.

    Cut them thinly, place them on a cooling rack or sheet pan and into the oven. On a sheet pan,you'll have to turn them so they dry on both sides, that's why a cooling rack would be preferred. time, I don't know off hand. Depends on how evenly and thinly they're cut and your local humidity too.

    Phil
     
  11. jonk

    jonk

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    Thank you all for your interesting responses to my initial question...and for the fascinating side trips along the way (Mmm..mushroom ketchup!). We'll stick with sauteeing before topping, as we did with our wild mushroom, smoked salmon, and leek pizza of Saturday night.

    When we do use dried mushrooms (which wasn't the case this time), we just rehydrate them before putting them on the pizza, but I've not tried sprinkling with powdered dried mushrooms. Sounds worth trying.
     
  12. thetincook

    thetincook

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    There was a thread here a couple of years ago that mentioned putting up your mushroom scraps up in a five percent brine and letting them pickle. You would then use the pickle and the liquid as a seasoning.

    It's kindof like mushroom soy with out the soy!