Personally I’m not a huge mushroom fan. I like them a lot cooked, but I rarely ventured into the realm of eating them raw UNTIL I met the Maitake, or Hen-of-the-Woods as it’s more commonly called in the U.S. I first encountered the Maitake a number of years ago at a farmer’s market when I asked a mushroom farmer which of his wares tasted best raw. He immediately pointed out the Maitake. I let me break off a bit and have a nibble and it was love at first bite.
The Maitake has a very firm, almost crisp and juicy texture and a mild nutty taste, and it keeps for a long time (unlike white or portabella mushrooms which needs to be used ASAP). Recently I came across an article that was extolling the health virtues of Maitake, in particular the fact that it has the highest Vitamin-D content of any mushroom with 100% RDA in half a cup diced (per Wikipedia)!!!
Personally I just really like how it tastes and the fact that it’s good for me is just an added bonus. I love to sprinkle it (you don’t actually have to cut it, it’s so crisp it crumbles very easily in your hand) over kale salads and scrambled eggs. It’s become much easier to find and I can now purchase it at my local Whole Foods but I’m thinking about trying my hand at growing my own! Would love to hear what you think of it! Be a spark!
Wikipedia’s Maitake entry: http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grifola_frondosae