Maitake (pronounced my-tah-key), (Grifola frondosa), a member of the polyporaceae (so-called "Monkey Bench") family, is one of the mushrooms that tradition and contemporary health groupies credit with significant healing properties.It has been prized in traditional Japanese herbology as an "adaptogen", (a sciency sounding made-up word that means an aid to balance-out altered body system towards normal). Research supposedly have indicated that whole maitake has the ability to regulate blood pressure, glucose, insulin and both serum and both serum and liver lipids, such as cholesterol, triglyceride and phospholipid; and may even be useful for weight loss.

But who cares? They taste great! And they are in season now!
Or at least they were when this was noded on May 23rd.

Maitake mushroom can weigh over 100 pounds! They grow wild in northeastern Japan. It is only since 1980's that they have been cultivated. The ones found at markets are usually about the size of a head of lettuce. They are a bit like oyster mushrooms but frilly and a taupe to cream shade.

What Can You Do With Maitake Mushrooms?
Eat them!
But first you might want to

  • sauté them in butter, season with salt and fresh black pepper and serve on top of a plain omlette with a stack of toast

  • braise them in saké and shoyu (soy sauce)

  • use them in a mushroom soup!

  • sear them with onions, pobalanos, and bell peppers and serve as a fajita filling with corn tortillas

  • put them in a miso shiru

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