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March 1, 2005


2005-03-01 henwmush.jpg

Editor�s Note: Old college friends, no, this is not an account of the Unfortunate �Shrooming Incident �.

As a child and adolescent, I was perhaps one of the fussier eaters one could come across, a bad habit that stretched itself across my life in many manifestations, some far more dangerous than others. Fears and psychosis aside, there were certain things that I would try (and did not until my early twenties)-� foodstuffs that have now become commonplace in my life, such as fish, sushi, pork, asparagus, guacamole, beets, and mushrooms, just to name a few.

Since then, however, I have fallen in love, and the name of my gourmand infatuation is Hen of the Woods. Oh, sweet fungus, how I adore you. How I crave you. And how unavailable you are, save the most expensive restaurants, to which my admission is limited to parental visits.

Have you ever tasted Hen of the Woods? Curly and crunchy, it is the most delicious mushroom I have ever encountered. At Craft, they are pan roasted to perfection. We have the recipe at home and I yearn to try it, however finding the fungi are near impossible. You can order them from March� aux Delices�for $24 per 1.5lb! OUCH.

Still, that might be worth it, however I am still trying to find a place in the city where I could hand pick the wallet-lightening load. March� aux Delices is actually located in Tribeca; however, I believe that they are only a shipping facility these days, not open to novice shoppers.

Anyone live near a forest that yields these? Or know the whereabouts of this location in Queens? Screw my Amazon list. Send me Hen of the Woods.

Posted by callalillie at March 1, 2005 9:14 AM | Food


Maybe you can root around in the woods for them next fall? Apparently they grow under big dying oak trees...

Posted by: amy-from-the-bus at March 1, 2005 11:34 AM

Oh, yes. Hen of the Woods are exquisite. Makes you not want to follow the sharing ethic at Craft.

Posted by: Lex at March 1, 2005 11:47 AM

this is an incredibly long shot, but Garden of Eden has a good mushroom selection (there's one on Montague St.). Although this one sounds too exotic even for them.

Posted by: abby at March 1, 2005 12:13 PM

Hmm. Maybe I'l check the Garden of Eden on 14th out on my way home. Also Chelsea Market, but last I looked they didn't even have them.

Posted by: corie at March 1, 2005 12:14 PM

you can get them at the farmer's markets but maybe not for a few more months. i have seen them at the one on 47th and 1st ave and also at the one along tompkins square park.

probably they're the same as the ones at craft, but the side of H-O-W mushrooms at hearth are incredible.

Posted by: jerusha at March 1, 2005 12:24 PM

I have been buying mine from a company in Vancouver, Canada for a long time.


We have always called them Maitake Mushrooms by the way.

Posted by: Uma Andersson at March 1, 2005 2:26 PM

Hmm. Wow, even more expensive. Yeesh. I'm going to have to scope out greenmarkets in the fall. Maybe Whole Foods has them. Uma, yes, they are called both hen of the woods and maitake, though I always thought the latter referred to the medicinal aspect of the mushroom.

Posted by: corie at March 1, 2005 2:30 PM

Google "Wildman Steve Brill" - he leads mushroom & edible plant walks through all the local parks. These are strange but fun field trips, and he would ABSOLUTELY know where to find hen-of-the-woods in the wild, if they are available.

Posted by: ms. frizzle at March 1, 2005 7:59 PM

what about whole foods or fresh direct? they might have 'em...

Posted by: Nancy at March 1, 2005 9:28 PM

Ah yes, Hen of the Woods. Bill Telepan formerly of Judson Grill promised me that it would be the one mushroom I'd go out of my way to eat, and guess what, he was completely right.

It's truly a wonderful taste, completely unlike "mushyrooms" as I called them.

Unfortunately, they're rare and expensive.

Posted by: whatisee at March 2, 2005 3:10 AM

I think you're right Corie. It was my mother (granola crunching west coastie that she is) who introduced us to these.

Culinarily speaking, I like Hen of the Woods aswell!

There must be a deal somewhere.....I'll keep hunting!

Posted by: Uma Andersson at March 2, 2005 9:17 AM

I think that I might bite the bullet and shell out the $25, at least just once.

Posted by: corie at March 3, 2005 9:41 AM

1.5 Lbs is a butt ton of shrooms.

Posted by: at March 3, 2005 4:53 PM

They grow in Greenwood cemetery (in Brooklyn)
I know someone who forages there for these as they are the most expensive mushroom. Last time I saw him he had a 22 pound haul! Go to the cemetery - look for the oak trees and if you can handle the knowledge of where they grew and the fact that you are eating fungus that possibly derived it's nutrients from the deceased - you will never want for hen of the north again.
Oh yeah - and the Park Slope Food Coop sells them pretty cheap too.

Posted by: Tiya (ala wiki) at March 4, 2005 5:20 PM

They used to grow on the firewood that my father kept out in the backyard of my parents' house in Queens. Had I known what they were worth ...

And yes, I still see them from time to time in Queens. Not recently though. Global warming?

Posted by: Matt Caldecutt at March 7, 2005 10:35 PM

I get them regularly at the greenmarket at thompson sqaure park on sundays.

Posted by: Tom at March 13, 2005 6:50 PM

check out dean & deluca or citerella or garden of eden. exotic mushrooms are becoming more prevalent in stores nowadays - at least gourmet food stores.

Posted by: na at March 18, 2005 10:48 PM

I get Maitake (aka Hen of the Woods) all the time at:

-Whole Paycheck, er, I mean Whole Foods Market
-Garden of Eden
-Union Square Farmers Market
-Grand Army Plaza Farmers Market
-Park Natural (Court & Union streets, Bklyn)

Posted by: Fishanthrope at March 21, 2005 4:43 PM

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