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I heard on a film the other day that you shouldn't crowd mushrooms when cooking them? What does this mean and how do you avoid doing it?

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Someone watched Julie & Julia recently. :) –  JustRightMenus Sep 16 '10 at 0:45
    
Indeed I did. :) –  Bluebelle Sep 23 '10 at 15:26
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up vote 14 down vote accepted

It's not the mushrooms that are important, it's the "crowding" -- basically, you don't want so much food in the pan at once that the bits are packed tightly, or in more than one layer.

This is especially important for items that give off a lot of water as they cook (like mushrooms), or that you're trying to get to crisp up, as you want to leave space for the moisture to evaporate and escape without causing the food to steam.

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Yep. I find this is one of the mistakes that beginners (or generally poor cooks) make the most. The result is mushy, bland, unbrowned food and they aren't sure why. Another cause of this is fear of turning up the heat sufficiently. –  Michael at Herbivoracious Sep 15 '10 at 21:32
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Bingo. Applies to much more than mushrooms - pan searing meats, veggies, etc. –  ceejayoz Sep 15 '10 at 22:14
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