Friday, January 19, 2007

Mushrooms Have Umami

Mushrooms Have Umami

So what is Umami?

Umami is that extraordinary sensation that you feel after taking a bite of a thick juicy steak topped with mushrooms. It quickly wakes up your taste buds, and floods your mouth with flavour. Umami is none other than the fifth taste.

A fifth taste you ask? You may think that Umami is just as ordinary as the other tastes; sweet, salty, sour and bitter, but you would be wrong. Umami is a Japanese word meaning "savory" or "meaty" and thus applies to the sensation of savoriness.

This taste is triggered by foods that are heavy in a certain glutamate, such as mushrooms. This is similar to the sensation that is triggered when eating foods treated with monosodium glutamate. They taste fuller and better. Because mushrooms have this natural occurring glutamate, they enhance the flavour and extend the finish of the foods that they are served with.

Think of your last meal featuring mushrooms. Did it not taste just fantastic? That is Umami. So remember this unique and powerful taste next time you cook with mushrooms.

Courtesy of Mushrooms Canada is a Umami rich mushroom recipe that I think everyone should give a try, your taste buds will thank you for it.

Creamy Mushroom Sauce

This is the ultimate Umami sauce; serve with beef tenderloin, steaks or veal, pork or turkey scaloppini.

Preparation Time: 5 minutes Cooking Time: 10 minutes

2 tbsp butter 25 mL
2 tbsp minced shallots 25 mL
4 oz fresh mushrooms (white, crimini, shiitake 125 g
oyster, or portabella) stemmed and sliced
½ cup chicken broth 125 mL
½ cup Marsala wine 125 mL
2/3 cup whipping cream (35%) 175 mL
freshly ground pepper to taste

In a large skillet heat butter over medium heat; sauté shallots for 1 minute; add mushrooms and cook 4-5 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove and set aside. Add broth and wine; bring to boil and cook until reduced by about half. Add cream and cook until sauce has thickened slightly about 2-3 minutes or until desired consistency. Return mushrooms and heat until hot. Serve over cooked meat.

Makes 4 servings

Tip: Substitute white part of green onions for shallots
Variation: Substitute brandy or sherry for Marsala wine.

Check out the Umami - Nature`s Flavour Enhancer Article on the Mushrooms Canada website.

Special Thanks to Mushrooms Canada for the use of this recipe

No comments: