Paleo* Gluten free * Vegetarian * Vegan * Parve *
So I got these bunches of greens from the CSA last week and suddenly it was Wednesday and I hadn’t used them yet. I knew that Thursday would bring even more greens so I’d better get to it. I also had purchased at my local farmer’s market a Hen of the Woods mushroom that needed to be used, so here is the really delicious (albeit not too beautiful) result of that marriage.
Hen of the Woods (aka miatake) mushrooms are incredibly flavorful, beautiful, and expensive (they cost $24/lb at the farmer’s market)
They are believed to have many medical uses in addition to being good eating. It’s interesting to me that when you google miatake mushrooms the first entry is http://www.cancer.org/treatment/treatmentsandsideeffects/complementaryandalternativemedicine/dietandnutrition/maitake-mushrooms, yet when you google hen of the woods mushrooms the entries are all about cooking. According to the cancer.org article “The Japanese word “maitake” means “dancing mushroom” because people in ancient times were said to dance for joy when they found these mushrooms, which were literally worth their weight in silver. ” If you know your mushrooms, you too can dance with joy as miatakes grow here, generally at the base of oak trees.
Preparing hen of the woods mushrooms can be time consuming (especially if you found one yourself). Because of all of the nooks and crannies dirt and little creepy crawly things have lots of places to hang out (not much of a problem with cultivated ones – perhaps making it worth the price). Here’s how I prepared them. First I cut off the bottom and cut the mushroom in half through the stem for easier access to the middle.
Then, using a brush or damp paper towels (brush is easier, towels may be more effective), brush away the dirt (and bugs, if any)
Then cut into pieces.
I LOVED this dish and hope you will too.