April 12, 2010

Maitake Mushrooms

maitake mushroom
Like birds to shiny objects, we're drawn to foods with unusual appearances. That's one reason why we bought this Maitake mushroom (aka Hen of the Woods mushroom) at a local farmers' market.

Maitake mushrooms (meaning "Dancing mushroom" in Japanese) are grown at the base of trees.  In Eastern medicine, it is thought to boost the immune system.  According to the American Cancer Society, there are ongoing studies to see if maitake mushrooms can help fight against or slow down cancer.  Health benefits would be a bonus as these mushrooms are meaty, earthy, and easily adaptable to many dishes. 

mushroom plus egg
Any dish that uses regular button mushrooms can incorporate Maitake mushrooms.  Having bought this pale green duck egg (nope, we did not naturally dye this egg - Mother Nature did it for us!), we thought we would make a simple dish.
making maitake mush and egg dish
With thoughts of our meals at Blue Hill and Telepan, we decided to poach the duck egg and pan fry small pieces of the Maitake mushroom.  The duck egg had a huge yolk, so getting our white puffy cloud from the limited egg whites was a little tricky.
poached duck egg and maitake mushroom
  We added a few heirloom cherry tomatoes and our simple farmers' market lunch was complete.  The mushroom was crispy, but still retained its umami taste. 
runny duck yolk
mmm...and we loved the rich, runny yolk! 

We have 3/4 of the large Maitake mushroom left.  We may make a pasta dish similar to the one we enjoyed at dell'animaWhat would you make with a Maitake/Hen of the Woods mushroom?


  1. What a unique looking mushroom - I need to get a hold of those and try them asap!

  2. Love maitakes! Saw them at the Farmer's Market last year but did not pick some up. Your dish looks fabulous, and I had no idea that green duck eggs exist!

  3. wow great post I have no idea but I bet doggy bloggy would know lol

  4. This is such a beautiful recipe! Thank you for posting it. And I love the pictures.

  5. wow! it looks almost like a flower

  6. I adore maitake mushrooms, it's my favorite variety. I like to drizzle truffle oil and sear it on high heat, and salt and pepper. It's so good!

  7. I have only had this mushroom once - at The French Laundry. I haven't been able to buy it here. It is so tasty and the texture is substantial. I loved it and have not got it out of my head, since. I had NO idea they were so big. Simple is best and this dish looks incredible. I do use duck eggs when I make zabaglione. They do not break down. It is amazing, but I have never seen a coloured one. Beautiful. The entire dish. Simple, delicious, nutritious. That's my mantra.

  8. @5 Star Foodie - Can't wait to see what you would do with them!
    @Jen - They're pricey (mine were $20/lb, costing me $5), but getting a small one is worth it!
    @Rebecca - Thanks! Oh, I'm sure he's already made tons of meals with it!
    @Courtney - Thank you so much!
    @Ron - It's really pretty. Have you seen them in your travels? They're popular in Japan.
    @FLB - mmm...that sounds so good!
    @Valerie - You're right - the duck eggs are really sturdy (the shell's even harder to crack!)

  9. Saw this on Tastespotting and didn't even realize they were mushrooms at first! This sounds delicious and I'm so intrigued by the texture!

  10. Never heard of Maitake mushrooms but I will be sure to keep my eyes peeled in Chinatown next time I am there!

  11. @Mardi - We found them at the Farmers' Market - When you're here in NYC, perhaps you can stop by the market (Union Square's the largest) on Sat AM for them.


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