Maitake Mushrooms - The Hidden Treasure
ArticleIn this day and age, there seems to be a pill to fix almost everything - from getting better gas mileage out of your gas guzzler, to keeping you from guzzling too much beer, and an everyday pill for making your symptoms of stomach gurgling to go away.
As we get a little older and health related ailments becomes more prominent, and as we learn more about how food is grown and processed, we have become more obsessed with what we eat and this is reflected in what we carry in our shop. Not to say that we live only for things that will make us healthier…quite to the contrary. But, in our obsessive quest to find the best tasting foods on the planet, we cross the chasm, skip from continent to continent, and in our own back yard, we find really great stuff. It turns out that, with few exceptions, almost all of our stuff is the good stuff. Good for you - or at least as good as the ingredients that are in the product. And recently we have found that many of the foods that have come our way has the potential of being really, really good for you. Now, we don’t tout healthy healing life-saving benefits for any of our foods. But, we do think that if you eat well, you will in turn live well too. And, though we do search for the “holy grail” of foods, we know that there in no one food that, if you eat it once or twice, will cure cancer. But it doesn’t mean that we can’t look… This year we have been focused on finding a few interesting greens, like fiddlehead ferns, garlic scapes and sea beans. And while we were searching, the Maitake Mushroom walked in. Its wild look makes the Maitake Mushroom fun and exciting. And, it really gives you a feeling of fresh. We were given three whole, 1-pound samples. We gave one to Jesse (the baker) who made a simple pasta and garlic sauce with greens. We shipped one to our “ship-it-and-see-if-it-arrives-safely” tester and friend, Jodi in New York. And, with the third, Eliza and I went off to Delancey’s to see if Brandon would make us a special pizza using the Maitake. We arrived unannounced on a Saturday night. We brought a bottle of just-in Meyer Lemon Olive oil for Brandon – an obvious food bribe to see if he might make us a pizza with our own shroom ..... turns out we didn’t need any special gifts. He was really excited to try the Maitake on a pizza and more than happy to keep the oil too! We had to wait for a seat, but that was quite pleasant for us, actually, as it took us away from the office and gave us a chance to talk about .... the Maitake, of course. We talked mostly about its healthy benefits, which have been touted by the fanatics, and by the research that shows that the health claims of the Maitake have real validity. But all that aside, what really matters is the taste and the “performance” of the Maitake. And, we were not disappointed! We started the meal with a radicchio salad; fresh radicchio topped with Parmigiano-Reggiano and preserved lemon, and a dressing with anchovy. I thought it was a perfect contrast to my hip Coca Cola from south of the border. And, while we waited for our “custom” pizza, we easily inhaled a salametto pizza. So good! The crust was a treat and the flavor was like a pizza should be. And then, with just a little mozzarella cheese, our Maitake Mushroom, and some Le Colline olive oil, the pizza arrived. Pretty and delicious, the flavor of the mushroom made the pizza! With each bite we analyzed, enjoyed, and felt we had a winner. This is one great food! And by the way, it might just be good for you too. We plan on having one mushroom a week… why not? Something this good tasting is worth having! (c) ChefShop.com, 2010
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