Turn your food fantasy into a reality with this wicked sexy dish!
If you haven’t noticed yet (you soon will), we’re crazy about mushrooms and the capabilities that lie within the magic those fungi possess. Today we’re talking about Maitake mushrooms. They’re available at specialty retailers like Whole Foods or some farmers markets and online for sure. When you’re purchasing Maitakes, look for ones in full cluster form—the bigger the better—shoot to aim for the size about the size of a chicken breast. The ones you an get online or even at Asian markets come in a cello pack and can be cut in half to make two breasts.
For this technique, we’re going to start with breaking a culinary rule (not unusual for us) about not getting mushrooms wet. Most recipes instruct you to wipe them off with a damp paper towel instead of running them under or soaking them in water to clean them. This is because mushrooms are porous, and absorb lots of water, which results in mushrooms becoming soggy during cook time. While we agree with this, we’re going to do it anyway here, because this wicked shroom technique is going to plump them up without making them soggy. Stay with us!
We’re going to start by giving the shrooms a good, long soak in a brine first. This allows flavor and moisture to be infused into every little nook and cranny, which is important for the next step, which is searing it. We’re going to get a good sear by placing the shroom into a hot pan, then placing another pan on top of that before baking it. What all of this does is create an outer layer that gets crispy, while the inside develops a super succulent texture.
This Wicked Healthy technique will change and up your shroom game!!
SERVES | 2-4
TIME | 30 minutes, plus an hour to soak and drip dry the Maitake mushrooms
1 qt water
1/2 C salt
1 lb. Maitake mushroom clusters, whole
1/4 C cajun or BBQ seasoning
1/4 C BBQ sauce
1 tsp oil
fresh cilantro, or herb garnish of your choice
1. Combine water and salt in a bowl to create your brine. Add in the Maitake mushrooms and soak for 30-45 minutes.
2. Remove from brine, give the ‘shrooms a quick rinse and let drip dry a little before cooking.
3. Sprinkle or dredge seasoning to cover mushroom breasts.
4. Preheat oven to 400.
5. Heat cast iron or oven safe sauté pan on med-high heat, add oil.
6. Place seasoned mushrooms on heated pan and either place another pan on top or a smaller pots lid and slightly press down. Flip after a minute or so to sear both sides. We’re looking to only blacken (to make dark or burnt and in this case with a dried seasoning mix), so keep a close eye to prevent burning.
NOTE – depending on the mushrooms (cause they’re all different) some steam and liquid will leach out more than others. be careful when removing the top press so as not to get burned and don’t fret it might take a couple minutes longer to cook, the liquid will dissipate.
7. After searing, place pan with mushrooms in oven and bake for 10-15 minutes.
8. Remove from heat, brush with BBQ sauce and serve.
9. Garnish with fresh herbs. Viola! You’ve got yourself a blackened Maitake breast.