Smoky Trumpet Mushroom Pizza Celebrates the Mushroom
Remember when wild mushrooms were, well, wild? Oysters, shiitakes, all the wild mushrooms had to be hunted and foraged, and only made brief appearances during mushroom season. Now, we have mushroom growing operations that have made great mushrooms a year-round thing. So Smoky Trumpet Mushroom Pizza can happen anytime of year, but right now, it feels so right.
Get To Know Your Mushrooms
In the great recycling scheme of the natural world, mushrooms occupy a fascinating niche. Existing invisibly as a fine network of fibers underground or symbiotically on a host, the organisms whose fruits we know as mushrooms live off the living and the dead. While that might sound creepy, these natural wonders produce some of the tastiest things in the produce aisle.
The mushrooms we buy are actually the fruiting bodies of much larger networks of microscopic fibers, called hyphae. Each specific mushroom grows this network next to the food it is capable of digesting. Some varieties are less picky, living on decomposing leaves or animal dung. The “mycorrhizal” symbionts, like truffles and chanterelles, live in happy balance with their host tree, synthesizing sugars from the environment and sharing them even as they borrow other nutrients. A few parasitic mushrooms eventually kill their host plants.
The “saphrophytic” mushrooms that eat decomposing matter have proven to be the easiest for humans to grow. Most of the mushrooms we buy are cultivated, using decaying matter as a growing medium. Yes, those black crumbs at the base of your button mushroom are manure, but it’s heat-sterilized manure, if that makes you feel better.
Cooking With Mushrooms
The unique biology of the mushroom makes it a joy to cook with. Mostly water, but with no fat, your mushroom will yield completely different textures depending on how you handle it. Raw, most mushrooms are soft and springy. Seared, they can develop a snappy crust that holds the concentrated juices inside. Chopped and cooked over lower heat, the mushroom pours out its liquids and becomes meltingly tender-but if you keep cooking, it will reduce down to an intensely flavorful essence and become firmer as you go.
For this pizza, I quartered meaty, fresh trumpet mushrooms and tossed them with olive oil, smoked paprika and smoked salt. I pre-heated a heavy baking sheet in a 425 F. oven, then scattered the mushrooms on the hot pan. The heat of the oven seared the outside of the mushroom quarters, creating firm edges and intensifying the flavor inside.
Paired with roasted squash and aged Asiago or your favorite vegan cheese, this is a fantastic pizza to celebrate the miracle of the mushroom.
Smoky Trumpet Mushroom and Squash Pizza
- 2 8 ounce whole wheat pizza crusts https://robinasbell.com/2011/07/grilling-pizzas-at-the-mill-city-so-you-can-too/
- 1 cup peeled and cubed squash
- 8 ounces trumpet mushrooms
- extra virgin olive oil
- smoked salt
- smoked paprika
- 1 cup shredded Asiago or non-dairy cheese
- 1/4 cup fresh basil shredded
- Preheat the oven to 425 F. Put your pizza crusts on pans for baking.
- Toss the squash with olive oil and salt, roast for about 20 minutes, until just tender.
- Quarter the trumpet mushrooms vertically. Put n a large bowl and drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with smoked salt and paprika. Place a heavy baking sheet in the oven to pre-heat for five minutes, then spread the mushrooms on the hot pan. Roast for 20 minutes, turning the pieces over on the pan halfway through. Depending on the size of the mushrooms, you may need more time to get them browned and slightly shrunken. Let cool.
- Cover the pizza crusts with squash and mushrooms, drizzle with more olive oil, if desired. Sprinkle with your cheese of choice, and bake for about 15 minutes. Serve hot.