Picture Snob

July 4, 2008

Hen of the Woods (Grifola frondosa) mushroom hunting

The Hen of the Woods mushroom (Grifola frondosa), also known as Maitake in Japan, is typically found in September/October at the end of mushroom season. hen of the woods from forager press.jpg(Photo via www.theforagerpress.com) However, GardenSnob staff found some last weekend in Lincoln, MA and in Temple, NH! This is a delicious mushroom that can be used the same way you would use a white button mushroom. It has a nice, woodsy flavor but doesn't overpower anything. Finding one will make you feel like you won the lottery. They might be 20-30 or even up to 50 lbs each! Hen of the Woods freeze extremely well and can last up to two years if the freezer stays around 0 degrees. Just clean and cut into pieces or strips and freeze in ziplock bags. If you're feeling entrepreneurial, try selling some to a boutique food or cheese store near a city. One upscale cheese place in Cambridge is selling them for $28/lb. Here's a recipe for a two hen salad from "Edible Wild Mushrooms of North America" by David W. Fischer and Alan E. Bessette:edible wild mushrooms book.jpg
Hen of the Woods Salad
3 green onion with tops, chopped
1 small tomato, peeled and chopped
2 Tbsps olive oil
1 Tbsp butter
8 ounces Hen of the Woods, chopped
1 Lb. Cooked, skinned, boned chicken
2 slices crisp cook bacon
2 Tbsps red wine
½ cup peanuts or pine nuts
Saute onion and tomato in oil and butter until onion is soft. Add mushrooms and cook 4 minutes more. Add large chunks of chicken and remaining ingredients to mushroom mixture and cook a few more minutes. Allow to cool. Add a favorite salad dressing and chill. Serve over a bed of lettuce or on avocado halves. Serves 2 to 4.
You could make it a three hen salad by adding chunks of tuna, the chicken of the sea. We know that was silly but sometimes things get a little slap happy at GardenSnob. To help you identify edible mushrooms, please read, re-read, and carry with you a reliable reference book with photos. "Mushrooming Without Fear" by Alexander Schwab, is an excellent guide with lots of pictures and a color bar for each type of mushroom. For the Hen of the Woods entry alone there are 12 photos. mushrooming without fear book.jpgThis book is available at Amazon for $11.21. Happy Hunting!

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Posted by Mary Ellen at July 4, 2008 6:20 AM
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