King Maitake

The Maitake is known as the Dancing Mushroom, the Hen of the Woods, and also by its scientific name: Grifola Fondosa, (“The Half Lion”) In the wild, it can grow to over 50 pounds. Because of its size, it is also referred to as the “King of Mushrooms.”

For 4000 years man has believed that the magical Maitake has special qualities that aid in digestion, and spark the immune system. All this is great to know, but for us it is the taste that makes this mushroom great.

It feels soft and delicate to the touch. Easy to pull apart, and then place on top of a pizza or sauté in a pan with butter and garlic. The act of pulling the Maitake apart is both easy, and really makes you feel connected to the food. –excerpts from ChefShop

One easy way to enjoy these delicious and healthy funghi (recipe also courtesy of ChefShop)

"This recipe was first made for us by Brandon of Delancey Restaurant in Seattle. Brandon, of course, makes his own wonderful pizza dough. But, this recipe assumes you have purchased a pre-baked pizza shell."–ChefShop

1. Prebaked Pizza Crust
1 Maitake Mushroom - 3/4 to 1 pound
3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1/4 to 1/2 pound Mozarella Cheese
Sea salt

1. Place pizza stone in oven and heat to 425-degrees.
2. Brush pizza shell with olive oil. If making thick-crust pizza, bake shell for 5-7 minutes or until the oil bubbles. If making thin-crust pizza, no need to pre-bake shell.
3. Gently pull apart the Miatake Mushroom and spread "leaves" evenly around the pizza crust. Maitaki mushrooms have a wonderful, mild but distict mushroom flavor. So, no need to hold back.
4. Place slices of mozzarella about the pizza. Sprinkle shell with sea salt.
5. Bake 12-15 minutes, or until the cheese is lightly browned and bubbly.
6. Cool, cut, and serve.

In Asia, the Maitake is considered to have medicinal value. It is supposed to be good for the spleen and digestive system. It is also used for calming nerves and soothing the mind - and who could not use some of that these days? It is said to suppress tumor growth by activating the immune system.

Other claims include helping the cardiovascular system, lowering high blood pressure, regulating cholesterol, managing blood sugar levels, helping us age more slowly, and there are even claims of improving weight control by boosting metabolism – just by adding Maitake to your diet!

Alla vostra salute! 

LocalHarvest (a directory of farmer's markets)
the emporium:  gourmet, grocery (organic, dried) 
FungusAmongUs (organic farm, on-line store)

Hanging lights custom fabricated from cider jugs for Brandon and Molly's Seattle restaurant:  Delancey
Restaurant design and light fabrication:  tbD

It might also interest you to know that Molly is a longtime blogger (since way back in 2004!)  If you are a foodie, you are probably already in-the-know, but here's the link so the rest of us can catch up:   Orangette

Molly's Book:   
(us) ~ (uk) ~ (ca) ~ (fr) ~ (de) ~ (it) ~ (es)

and a recommendation from Molly and Brandon for further pizza-making advice:

(us)(uk) ~ (ca) ~ (fr)(de) ~ (it)(es)

...and I just learned that Molly writes a monthly column for Bon Appétit called "The Cooking Life."  Click (here) for the on-line version.

. . . . .




(us)(uk) ~ (ca) ~ (fr)(de) ~ (it)(es)

Photo credits:  Maitake mushrooms - ChefShop; 
"Hands and Dough" - Delancey Restaurant website

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