Should we tear or cut our mushrooms when prepping and cooking them? That is a very good question.
And this week, we thought we'd do a little research and figure it out.
Interestingly, we found that overall, we prefer the method of tearing them. At least when they are sautéed. We still have some more research to do when adding to soups or stews, but we suspect, it will be the same conclusion.
We compared cutting v. tearing with the following varieties - shiitake, maitake, beech, oyster, lion's mane, and chestnut.
We tore and cut some of each variety, sautéed them separately, and then compared their flavor and texture (whew, that was a lot of pictures).
1. Moisture cooks out faster.
2. The natural textures that are created when you tear the mushrooms are much more delightful when cooked and truly does enhance the overall flavor.
3. The mushrooms look better torn. They look more natural and add depth and shape to your dish.
4. Less dirty dishes to wash (no knife needed to tear).
1. More uniform in size.
Yup. A lot more pros when tearing. Sure sounds fancier too, right?
We found that tearing mushrooms instead of cutting them subtly change the way they cook (and taste). When you pull apart the mushrooms, it makes for a greater amount of uneven, textured surface area, conducive to crispy and charred edges. That was our favorite part. Yum.
Of course, we do understand that the tearing method won’t work for all preparations — it’s probably not a great choice for duxelles or mushroom bacon – but if you want to showcase the natural texture and flavor of fresh mushrooms, we find that tearing really is better.
And for mushrooms like beech, chestnut, and pioppino, if they are smaller in size, you don't really need to cut or tear them at all...just throw them in the pan. Easy peasy.