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Hen Of The Woods Mushrooms

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A.K.A

maitake mushrooms

What is it?

When you think of mushrooms, the word “pretty” doesn’t usually come to mind, but maitake might be the exception. You may know them as “hen of the woods,” a descriptive name owing to the mushrooms’ ruffled appearance: Their white stalks gracefully fan out into feathery, curled caps. Depending on how much light they receive prior to harvest, those caps can range in color from white to dove gray or warm brown. Widely known for culinary as well as medicinal uses, maitake are called by many other names, too, including ram’s head or sheep’s head mushrooms, king of mushrooms, cloud mushrooms, and signorina (or unmarried woman).

Maitake are native to the United States, Europe, and Japan, and in the wild, they favor the base of oak and maple trees, as well as coniferous trees and stumps, where they can be found in late summer through early fall. Today, however, thanks to the Japanese who pioneered the effort, the mushroom is widely cultivated and can be found both fresh and dried in Asian markets and increasingly in supermarkets, where they are sold packaged most often with their Japanese name, maitake. With their beery aroma and meaty texture, maitake are delicious eaten raw, seared, roasted, deep-fried, grilled, or sautéed.

    Recipes

  • roasted mushroom salad
    Recipe

    Roasted Mushroom and Herb Salad

    A mix of herbs brightens savory, woodsy, and earthy roasted mushrooms in this light but satisfying dish. If you can’t find maitake mushrooms, use shiitake or, even better, chanterelles. Serve…

  • Recipe

    Seared Filet Mignon with Red-Wine Mushroom Sauce

    The sauce for this dish is simple and flavorful, and the sear-roasting technique means you’ll have a restaurant-quality meal in the comfort of your own home. Serve with a medley…

  • Recipe

    Maitake Noodle Bowls

    This satisfying bowl is brimming with umami flavors, warm udon noodles, and vibrant, crisp vegetables.

  • Recipe

    Poached Eggs on Brioche Toast with Garlicky Mushrooms

    This decadent version of eggs on toast pairs rich brioche with poached eggs, earthy mushrooms, fresh spinach, and garlic oil. The runny egg yolks merge with the oil to become…

  • Recipe

    Braised Pacific Halibut with Leeks, Mushrooms, and Clams

    The halibut's smooth, buttery texture is accented here by the sharp brininess of the clams. Be sure not to overcook the halibut; its texture is best when the fish is just…

  • Recipe

    Twice-Marinated Mushrooms

    These mushrooms get lots of flavor from a quick sear, although they keep a nice, chewy texture because they’re not cooked all the way through. The wine-and-vinegar marinade infuses them…

  • Recipe

    Beef Tenderloin with Wild Mushroom Stuffing & Port Wine Sauce

    Don’t be scared off by the liver in this stuffing. It’s really there just to bind the stuffing and add a rich background note; you won’t even notice it.

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