Maitake is an extremely versatile mushroom in the kitchen. A friend from Thailand uses it (cooked) in literally everything from soups to salads. An Italian chef I know uses it in breads, pressed into focaccia, on pizza and in main dishes as a sauce flavoring and in lasagna. I've ground it in a food processor and made delicious mushroom pesto that can be served on crusty bread or spooned over pasta with butter. It deep fries well, breaded with Italian seasonings or in tempura. To sum it up it has worked well in every dish I've ever seen it used in, its firm texture and woodsy flavor holding up to any style of cooking without ever becoming an overpowering flavor. What's nice about it is if you find enough -- like the thirty or so pound Maitake I'm holding in this picture -- you'll have plenty to try in your favorite mushroom recipe. Here's a list of cooking ideas and a few recipes:
Maitake Mushroom Pesto
Also: Try adding chunks of Maitake to soups or sauces.
Add to soups, I.E.: cook sliced and seeded Bitter Melon in chicken broth with Maitake, finish with shrimp or chicken. Add chili paste or Thai soup base to several cups of water and cook with mushrooms. Add fine scallion rings, cilantro, soy sauce to taste. whisk a little milk and salt with an egg and make a very thin omelet. Transfer the omelet to a cutting board and slice it into long thin "egg noodles." Add them to the soup and serve.
Mushroom Salad: Souphet (Thai Mushroom Salad)
Also: Add to curry dishes or slice finely and add to Tod Mon Goon (Thai shrimp sausages)
Here are some other ideas:
Try substituting Maitake for Morels in this recipe:
Make a Bechamel sauce and add sauteed Maitake, serve over pasta.
Here's a more American style "salad" recipe - Hen of the Woods Salad
ENJOY! - Roy Reehil
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