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Hen of the Woods Mushrooms

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On a not-so-recent trip to NY,NY Westopped at Balducci's just to sniff the food. We happened across some beautiful mushrooms called "Hen of the Woods" (I think). They were fresh and extremely fragrant. Does anyone know where I can find these mushrooms locally? Or by mail order?

If anyone has heard of this mushroom and have recipe ideas, I would love to hear from you.

Thanks,
Anita

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  1. Hen of the Woods (a/k/a maitake) mushrooms can be mail ordered from www.earthy.com or www.kingofmushrooms.com Locally, I would try the Berkeley Bowl.

    As for recipes, I generally saute fresh exotic mushrooms in olive oil and/or butter with some fresh herbs so the flavor is not masked. You could also try mushroom risotto, with a mix of wild mushrooms.

    I do have great recipe for a Stilton and Wild Mushroom galette if you are interested, although it takes a bit of time and the strong flavor of Stilton might overpower the Hen of the Woods (I usually use porcini, chanterelle and portabella).

    2 Replies
    1. re: Mike Wenzel

      mike, bring the recipe on! i am a big fan of all wild shrooms and actually have had great luck finding even the most exotic types at my local andronico's of all places. i do buy them there altho i much prefer to support local farmers. i second your recommendation about risotto. it's one of my favorite ways to serve them. another idea is mushroom crepes. sautee the shrooms with carmelized onions, thyme, rosemary and italian parsley. cook them until the released juices have reduced to a syrup. you can then stir in a tiny bit of creme fraiche as a binder, season with salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper, roll up into crepes, top with a veal sauce and a garnish of creme fraiche and you're done.

      1. re: Rochelle

        The mushroom crepe recipe sounds great. How do you make the veal sauce, reduced veal stock?

        RC: Mushroom and Stilton Galette

        This recipe is by Joanne Weir.

        Pastry Ingredients:
        1 ¼ cups all purpose flour
        ½ cup unsalted butter
        ¼ cup sour cream
        2 teaspoons lemon juice
        ¼ cup ice water
        a few pinches of salt

        Filling Ingredients
        ¼ oz or more dried wild mushrooms
        2 tablespoons butter
        ¾ cup sliced green onions
        1 clove garlic
        1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
        1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
        ½ pound fresh wild mushrooms sliced thin
        ½ pound button mushrooms sliced thin
        5 oz Stilton or other blue cheese

        Combine flour and salt in bowl. In separate bowl whisk sour cream, lemon juice and water. Cut butter into pieces and then cut butter into flour until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add ½ of the sour cream mixture and mix until large lumps form. Move lumps to the side and add remaining sour cream mixture until more lumps form. Pat lumps into a ball, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for an hour.

        Rehydrate dried mushrooms in hot water. Drain mushrooms (save liquid for another use). Melt butter over medium heat, add green onions and saute until soft. Add garlic, rosemary, thyme and continue to cook for another minute or so. Raise heat to high and add the fresh and rehydrated mushrooms and saute until mushrooms are tender and their liquid has evaporated. Remove mushrooms and let cool.

        Roll out the dough into a 12 inch round. Transfer to ungreased baking sheet. Crumble the blue cheese into a bowl, add the cooled mushrooms and mix well. Spread the mixture over the dough, leaving a 1 inch border. Fold the border over the mushrooms and cheese in sections, pleating the edges to make it fit. You will make about six to eight total folds. The center of the galette will be open.

        Bake in a 400 degree over from approximately 30 to 40 minutes. Serve warm.

        A few changes I made. I had no fresh wild mushrooms so used a combination of cremini and white button as the fresh, and upped the amount of dried wild mushrooms used. In addition I liberally salted and peppered the mushrooms while cooking. Finally, I did not use Stilton, and substituted with a Danish Blue.

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      Andrew Raskin

      I used to see these at Draeger's in San Mateo when I lived down there. I once made a stuffing with them for quail that was pretty awesome, and the woody taste of those mushrooms really made it. I didn't have a recipe -- but from what I recall: mix together some bread crumbs, parmesian, the mushrooms (after sauteing them in butter), shallots, garlic, and olive oil, stuffed the bird, sauteed em, then put some wine in the pan and put em in the oven. Then deglaze the pan for a sauce.

      1. I've definitely seen these at the Berkeley Bowl. And they were very fragrant. It's been a while, though, so ask the manager. You might also ask the mushroom guy at the SF Farmer's market. He usually just has rather typical mushroom fare, but occasionally he has something a little different. He had these great hedgehogs once...

        1. Good luck. There's a site that's hard to navigate around but they seem to have chicken of the woods and black trumpets in season
          http://www.freshrooms.com

          Link: http://www.freshrooms.com

          1. m
            Melanie Wong

            If you're in the North Bay, I've seen these before at Fiesta Market in Sebastopol. Best to call first.

            1. For Chowhounds who just love mushrooms, there is a club based in San Francisco for you! The Mycological Society of San Francisco. From their website, looks like you can attend discussions, go on mushroom hunting trips, and share mushroom dishes.

              Link: http://www.mssf.org/