Chef-turned-mycologist (that’s a mushroom scientist to the rest of us) Jim Fuller stirred up some controversy back in June when he appeared on a segment of Channel Nine’s Today Show, revealing the way mushrooms should be cooked. Because according to science, we’re all cooking mushrooms wrong.
The co-founder Fable Food Co, a company that makes mushroom-based meat alternatives, revealed in the segment that the correct way to cook mushrooms, based on science, is in fact to boil them in water – a suggestion that goes against the grain of everything we’ve ever been taught about cooking them.
In an Instagram video, Fuller explains his statement and gives instructions on cooking the right way.
“Boil the mushrooms first. This statement created a bit of controversy when I told @lfizzlphillips the best way to cook mushrooms was to start off boiling them until they are perfectly cooked on this morning’s @channel9 @thetodayshow weather,” he captioned the video.
“Here’s the response video with a better, longer explainer why you would do such a wonderfully crazy thing when you’ve always been told not to wash and ‘NEVER LET THE MUSHROOM TOUCH THE WATER BEFORE COOKING’.
“The basic method:
You can do this all entirely on a high flame
First, boil to perfection- you can keep adding water until this is achieved. Remember you can’t over boil a mushroom because of their unique cellular structure. They will let their own water out so don’t put too much water at once.
When perfectly tender, let the water evaporate until the pan is basically dry
Then add oil or fat and your aromatic stuff
Quick saute or stir fry and season to taste with salt”
Explaining the ‘why’ of his method, Fuller says that “the water from the mushrooms is being cooked out of the mushrooms.”
Once the water has evaporated off the mushrooms, Fuller then adds his oil and other ingredients.
Fuller told Broadsheet that the method we’re all used to comes from the French classical technique.
“Because mushrooms are full of water, the idea is to get rid of as much water as possible,” he said.
“But those techniques were designed when our understanding of fungi and their cellular structures was too young – not necessarily flawed, but they weren’t well understood.”