KPMS Mushroom of the Month for January 2009
||Maitake, Hen of the Woods
||Field identification is not necessary, since Maitake is native to the eastern US, Europe and Asia. However, it is available in better stores, and can be cultivated at home from kits.
||Choice, and medicinal!
||Grifola frondosa is considered to be a powerful medicinal mushroom. Research has shown maitake extracts to have significant activity against the HIV (AIDS) virus. Maitake contains compounds that have strong immunostimulatory and/or immune system modulating effects in humans. Maitake has been demonstrated to have anti-tumorial activity especially against breast, prostrate and collorectal tumors. Researchers have indicated that whole Maitake has the ability to regulate blood pressure, glucose, insulin and both serum and liver lipids, such as cholesterol, triglyceride and phospholipids; and may even be useful for weight loss. Fungi Perfecti indicates that it might be effective against bacteria, fungi, yeast and tumors, control blood pressure, sugar, and stress, and boost the immune system.
Recipe: Savory Maitake Bread Pudding
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, minced
2 T. olive oil
1 lb. Maitake, chopped into bite size pieces
1 loaf Italian or French bread, cubed and let dry 8-12 hours (Challah or Brioche for special occasions!)
3/4 C. Parmesan cheese, fresh grated
1 T. fresh thyme or 1 t. dried
3 T. fresh Italian parsley, minced
Salt and pepper
3.5 C. stock (chicken, vegetable or beef)
1/2 C. sherry or dry white wine
Saute onions and garlic until transparent, then add mushrooms and continue until mushrooms are golden brown. Salt and pepper to taste and let cool. Butter or non-stick spray a 9x13x2 glass baking dish. Beat eggs, 1/2 C. Parmesan, thyme, parsley, salt & pepper together, then stir in the stock and sherry. Mix the bread cubes and mushroom mix in a large mixing bowl. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and toss several times to distribute evenly. Transfer the mix to the baking dish, spread evenly, and top with the remaining Parmesan. Cover and let stand for 1/2 hour, or up to overnight in the refrigerator. Bake in a 350 degree oven 30-45 minutes (from room temperature), or until firm and golden brown on top.