Hen of the Woods - TUES
Tom is foraging Grifola frondosa or hen of the woods! Your 1/2 pound of hen of the woods will come in a brown paper bag.
Below is a How-To Guide from Tom's forager friend, Jeff Long;
Hen of the Woods basic storage, preparation, and cleaning
Storage: If possible, do NOT clean before storing. Place a double layer of paper towels in the bottom of a high-sided pan (i.e. cake or loaf), place mushroom on towels, cover completely with paper towels & place in refrigerator. Should keep one (1) week bare minimum if you follow this advice.
Cleaning: Trim off any dirt or leaf matter; unlike all other wild mushrooms, you can rinse or submerge this edible mushroom in water without ill effect - just use a salad spinner to dry or lay the mushroom on a couple of paper towels.
Pre-cooking: With a slicing knife, cut the mushroom VERTICALLY into 3/8" slices (not 1/4 & not 1/2 inch) - so that the mushroom will cook through by the time it starts to brown; OR use a paring knife to separate the mushrooms into fronds or "leaves". (Any small, miscellaneous pieces can be treated like larger ones.
- Olive Oil
- Fresh garlic clove(s) [slightly crushed]
- Salt [optional: coarse salt]
- Black Pepper [fresh ground]
- Hen of the Woods Mushroom (½ lb)
- Rub both sides of each slice w/ a clove of the garlic, slightly crushed (generously, if you prefer).
- Season both sides w/ salt & fresh ground black pepper.
- Brush both sides of the mushroom slice(s) w/ extra virgin olive oil; set slice(s) aside for 5-10 minutes; If you like, brush the slice(s) w/ olive oil again.
- Saute' the mushroom slices in a hot teflon pan OR grill the slices over a medium hot fire for approximately 2-3 minutes each side [the mushroom slice(s) should be lightly brown] & remove.
OPTION #1: Season the hot mushroom w/ a little kosher or coarse salt before serving.
OPTION #2: Brush a little Balsamic vinegar on one side immediately after taking off the heat.
The texture of the cooked mushroom should be "al dente" or "to the tooth" [a pleasant, slightly crunchy texture].
To Serve: Serve as a mushroom "steak" for a first course or as a vegetable accompaniment w/ roast, grilled or baked meats, poultry, & fish; Also, this mushroom is delicious when served over hot pasta.
Tom of Fungi Villa has been foraging for decades in the Washington DC area! He has many sites in Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia and in states up + down the East Coast! He sustainably forages to ensure that a patch can keep producing for many many years.