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How to roast mushrooms with Baltimore’s Foraged chef and owner Chris Amendola while coronavirus sheltering

Chris Amendola, Foraged's executive chef and owner, breaks down some of the basics of mushroom preparation. Note: he highly recommends you do not pick your own.

With restaurants closed by the coronavirus pandemic, The Baltimore Sun is asking area chefs how to prepare simple dishes at home. Previously: Beginner’s guide to scrambled eggs & broccoli with Bar Vasquez chef

Foraged chef and owner Chris Amendola is into mushrooms. Wooden mushrooms decorate the counter that separates the kitchen from the dining room of his Hampden restaurant. Dried mushrooms Amendola has found in the woods hang on the wall. (Amendola doesn’t recommend trying this at home; for the layperson, it can be nearly impossible to distinguish a toxic mushroom from a safe one).

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And naturally, mushrooms feature prominently on the menu at Foraged, his “hyper-seasonal eatery” on Chestnut Ave., bringing a rich, umami flavor to stews, risotto and brussels sprouts marrow.

When it comes to cooking mushrooms at home, Amendola has the following words of advice:

  • Store mushrooms in a brown paper bag before use to prevent excess moisture from building up
  • You don’t need to wash cultivated mushrooms before cooking
  • Before cooking, chop off stems of mushrooms. If you like, you can set them aside to make a mushroom stock which is great way to add flavor to dishes like risotto. “It’s super easy,” Amendola says. Just add the stems to a saucepan with water. Bring to a boil and then turn down the heat and let simmer for an hour.
  • Rip mushroom caps up with your hands before roasting. Place on a tray and add olive oil. Cook in a 375 degree oven for about 10 minutes or until golden brown.

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