Published September 1, 1998.
High-heat roasting coaxes the inherent deep flavors out of these everyday mushrooms.
White mushrooms have a lousy reputation. Many cooks who ooh and aah over porcini and portobellos find the white mushroom, often called the button, beneath their consideration. The versions that most of us eat are either overcooked or (even worse and more often) jarred. The impression left is of white mushrooms as pallid, watery, tasteless, insipid, rubbery things.
Because white mushrooms remain the most widely available to home cooks across the country, we wanted to revisit them to find a way of bringing out in them the deep, rich, earthy flavors for which their tonier cousins are so highly prized.
Our first thought was to give the mushrooms an initial burst of heat to brown them and follow that up with a longer cooking period at low heat. After both sautéing and roasting at high heat and then roasting each batch at lower heat, the mushrooms were indeed improved. The double-roasted mushrooms, however, were our clear favorite. Slight brown marks on the bottom of the bowl were all that remained of the evaporated liquid, and the mushrooms were not only moist all the way through but had a deep, rich, pronounced flavor that seemed at once meaty and nutty. To simplify things, we also discovered that we could roast the mushrooms at a constant 450 degrees as long as we turned them once near the end of the cooking time.list of recipes