$30/lb Mushrooms. Worth it or Worth Skipping? Plus Tips!

I love perusing the mushroom section at Whole Foods. White button, shiitake and portobella are the typical varieties. But there's always a few exotic varieties in stock as well. Today it was Chanterelle and Blue Foot mushrooms. The shocker is usually the price tag of these mushrooms. Chanterelle and Blue Foot: $29.99 a pound. So I have to ask: Worth it or worth skipping?

$30/lb Mushrooms. What's a Foodie to do? I always wonder if that is why the security guard at Whole Foods hangs out by the shrooms. Gosh, what if I dropped a giant Chanterelle on the floor. Would I be tackled? Anyways...

Lets take a look at the $30 prime suspects: Bluefoot and Chanterelle.

Bluefoot. No blue feet here. But a blueish-lilac speckled stem is what gives this elegantly clean mushroom its name. Bluefoot mushrooms have an intense woody flavor and hold their shape quite well after a quick saute.

Chanterelle. Ribbed and bright orangish-yellow. Resembles a giant piece if popped corn-with a long stem. Marshmallowy-looking. They cook up with an earthy flavor, less woody than the bluefoots. Incredibly aromatic flavor.

What do you think? Worth it or not? Click ahead for my analysis, more photos and my simple mushroom cooking instructions.....

$30/lb Mushrooms. What's a Foodie to do?
This is a seriously controversial foodie situation!
OK, believe it or not, you should not be shocked and deterred by the sticker shock of $30 mushrooms. Mushrooms are incredibly light for their size, so if you can purchase them piece by piece-do it. Thanks Whole Foods. Look, you're not going to walk away with a pound of chanterelles-unless you are cooking a heavy duty meal for special guests-then maybe.

The solution...

Indulge the mushroom connoisseur inside of you! The fabulous thing about pick-your-own mushroom sections is that you can buy a little bit and not spend a lot! Even with the $30 varieties. For example, I literally bought 3 large bluefoot shrooms and it cost around $2.50. Trust me, it was worth it. These mushrooms are so flavorful that just a few provide an intense flavor impact to a meal.

A few chanterelles cost me around $3.50. Thus I had a very gourmet mushroom tasting experience for around $6.

Michelin-Star quality Mushrooms. You'll easily find Blue Foot and Chanterelle mushrooms on the tasting menus of the most esteemed chefs. There is even a fine dining restaurant here in NYC called Chanterelle.

At Craft restaurant in NYC, there is a mushroom section on the menu. It looks like this at present:
Hen of the Woods 13.
Baby Shiitake 12.
Oyster 11.
Trompette Royale 12.
Bluefoot 13.

How-to Cook Mushrooms

Cooking mushrooms is incredibly easy. The hardest part is the prep of cleaning and properly slicing the shrooms. Here are instructions for chanterelles and blue foots.

Blue Foot Tasting:
Rinse the Blue Foots well. Gently dry.
Blue Foots are naturally very grime-free, so scrubbing is usually unnecessary.
I like to slice my Blue Foots right down the middle for a half-cut look. Sliced too thin and you will lose some of the thick-bodied texture of the shroom.
For fat-free shrooms, steam them with a pinch of salt.
For maximum flavor I like an olive oil saute.
Saute in a pan with a tablespoon of olive oil, pinch of salt and pepper for about 5 minutes. I like to cover the pan as they cook to 'steam' cook the caps and seal in the moist flavor. You can even add some shallots or fresh herbs to the pan if you'd like. But eaten 'unseasoned', these mushrooms are delicious.

Chanterelles are similar, but may require a bit more cleaning. I like to cook small chanterelles whole-no slicing. But the larger mushrooms I will slice into thin long strips. Simply saute lightly and they are done. And delicious.

Do not overcook mushrooms or they will become chewy, rubbery and lose their moist texture.

Healthy Fungus.
Don't forget that mushrooms are incredibly healthy.
Here's another mushroom post to feed your mushroom curiosity.

MORE Bluefoot Mushroom Photos:

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