The Salt Mistake To Avoid When Cooking Mushrooms

Mushrooms have their fair share of haters, but for those that love them, they are earthy little flavor bombs. With their deep umami richness and meaty texture, they are truly unlike anything else; even the most common types of mushrooms have a luxurious quality;. A handful of sliced mushrooms can turn a simple chicken breast or pork chop into a classy meal, and really good mushrooms need nothing but to be sauteed with a few herbs to make the best side dish money can buy.

Because mushrooms are so special, you have to treat them right. Like many stars, they tend to be temperamental, and Bon Appétit notes that they don't like to be crowded in the pan, as it can inhibit their browning. Also, mushrooms that start out too wet can turn out rubbery, slimy, or both. The ideal cooked mushroom is tender but still with a little bite — a tough trick to manage for an ingredient that changes and shrinks so much as it cooks. That is why the details are so important —heat, timing, and the amount of fat you're using can all make or break your 'shrooms, and one of the most consequential details is how you use salt with mushrooms.

Salting mushrooms too soon can lead to a tougher texture

If you know your way around the kitchen, you've probably learned to salt most food (at least a little) before you cook. Well-salted food has a more pronounced flavor, and salting early allows you to infuse it more into the dish. But as we said, mushrooms are special, and they don't like being messed with too much. According to Epicurious, salting your mushrooms before you start cooking will lead to rubbery mushrooms that will resist browning, which means less delicious mushroom flavor. The thinking behind not salting mushrooms early is that they will release too much water and end up steaming in their own liquid rather than searing

Instead, you can wait to salt them until the last few minutes or so, once they have already started to brown. That way, you get your perfect mushroom texture without losing that perfect mushroom taste. The only decision you'll have left is how many you eat before they make it to the plate or the top of your pizza.