Author: Lily Mazzarella
Maitake. This feathery mushroom is not only a delicious culinary mushroom it is composed of outrageously medicinal properties. For a quick run down of maitake's health benefits see "Get to know a Mushroom – The Mighty Maitake."
For now, let's get down to eating!
Maitake mushrooms: about 2 small-ish fist-sized clusters
1 handful sage leaves
1 small shallot, slivered
1 heaped tsp chopped preserved lemon
About 1+ tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
Small heavy pan, preferably a cast iron skillet — I use my 7" cast iron skillet which works perfectly
Preheat your oven to 375.
Sliver your shallot, chop your preserved lemon, wash and dry your sage leaves.
Shake any dirt from the maitake and cut off any super-fibrous bottoms of the clusters. Rinse briefly and dry with a paper towel.
Roughly chop the maitake. (I leave them in fairly large chunks, up to 1.5 inches across, since they shrink significantly when cooked.)
Combine all ingredients in cast iron pan and toss in olive oil.
Roast for approximately 20 minutes, and then test one. If they don't have a satisfying, meaty texture, cooked them for a few more minutes.
Check for salt levels (preserved lemons are naturally salty) and add freshly ground pepper, if desired.
Serve (carefully) in the hot pan with a green soup or salad. Makes enough for 2 people as a side dish.
The crisped sage and roasted mushrooms are a match made in heaven—the smell is out-of-this-world.
How to choose a fine maitake specimen at your local farmer’s market, co-op, or Whole Foods?
Maitakes should be meaty and soft, with a little backbone, and never slimy or moist. They should have a fresh odor of nothing much—any 'off' smell is a sign of breakdown. Mushrooms themselves are not molds (and are suitable for candida diets), but poorly stored or old ones can certainly grow and harbor molds. Skip them if they don't look or smell perfect. They're not worth your hard-earned money!