Fabulous fungi

How to pick the best wild mushrooms and make delicious dishes

You can find button mushrooms year-round. But in the fall more flavorful wild varieties are in season and easier to find. They cost more because they’re foraged rather than farmed. The harder they are to find, the steeper the prices morels, for example, can set you back as much as $60 a pound. But most are pretty cheap, and their earthy flavors can live up dishes without adding lots of calories (about 20 per cup). Porcini; cremini, with their meaty texture; and even ordinary buttons can stand in for pork or beef in chili and casseroles. Here are some tips to get the most from those recipe helpers.

•    Look for firm mushrooms without wet or dry spots.
•    Clean carefully. Most need a wipe with a damp paper towel; morels and black trumpets trap grit in their crannies and need a soaking.
•    Remove any plastic wrap, which can make them sweat and spoil, and store them in a paper bag in the refrigerator.

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