Thursday, June 28, 2012
One of the best things I got at Wegmans was a fresh hen of the woods, or maitake, mushroom. Like chicken of the woods - no relation - the hen of the woods gets its name from the firm texture and meaty taste - it's a much richer-tasting mushroom than a portobello. They're wild, and can grow to be hundreds of pounds. Dried maitakes are one of my favorite mushrooms to make stock from, but I'd never had them fresh.
Originally I fried some slices of the hen of the woods in a simple batter - buttermilk, egg, self-rising flour - as an accompaniment to roast tarragon chicken:
But it was so rich and flavorful, with an almost steak-like texture, that it actually overshadowed the chicken - and I'm pretty damn good at roasting a chicken.
So today I focused on the fried mushroom, in a very basic sandwich with casatica di bufala (the Brie-like buffalo cheese) and a little comeback sauce:
So damn good. I would happily make this all the time. This blows away those Sysco fried mushrooms with ranch.