Roasted Maitake

Preparation info

  • Serves

    4 to 5

    as a side dish
    • Difficulty

      Easy

Appears in

Vegetables from Amaranth to Zucchini

By Elizabeth Schneider

Published 2001

  • About

The large pouf of small, smooth-topped caps that make up the cultivated Japanese maitake is best when simply roasted at high heat with a generous glaze of oil or fat (duck or goose is particularly right in its gaminess). Other cultivated hen of the woods will do fine as well, but may be less presentable. These tidy “florets” look like small trees or branching coral.

Ingredients

  • 1¼ to 1½ pounds maitake (hen of the woods)
  • 3 tablespoons duck or goose fat or olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • Salt and pepper

    Method

    1. Heat oven to 450°F, with two racks set close to the center. Break or cut mushroom(s) into large clumps (1½ to 2 ounces apiece) so that each extends fully from caps to base of stem. You want chunks, not slices that may break into individual mushrooms.
    2. Select two baking pans that will hold mushrooms in a single layer with space in between. Divide fat between them. Set garlic on fat. Place in preheated oven until you smell the sizzling garlic.
    3. Tip pans to distribute fat. With tongs, hold mushrooms and quickly swab pieces to coat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper (do not omit salt—it draws out moisture that ensures even cooking and prevents burning).
    4. Roast until maitake is browned underneath, about 8 minutes. Turn gently with tongs or spatula; salt and pepper lightly. Return to oven, switching pan positions. Roast until browned and al dente—tender at the thickest part of the base, about 5 minutes longer. Timing will depend on density. If caps seem to be scorching, lower heat slightly.
    5. Transfer mushrooms to paper towels to blot fat, if desired. Serve hot, with additional salt and pepper.