Maitake tempura 790 xxx
photos by gluttonforlife

9.13.11 Batter Up

More maitake madness! The second hen-of-the-woods mushroom I found was even fresher and more delicate than the first. Having already eaten them sauteed in butter and spooned over toast, and then over gnocchi, I decided to follow my Japanese friend Tomo's advice and try my hand at maitake tempura. It was kind of a bold move, since I've never made tempura before, but I've grown much more comfortable with frying these days. Aside from being a bit messy, it's just not such a big deal. And the rewards, well, I don't have to tell you how wonderful it is to eat something hot and crispy and virtually greaseless. It's a taste and texture revelation. It turns out that tempura is a fantastic way to eat hen-of-the-woods. The crackling exterior perfectly complements the firm, meaty mushroom, which remains sweet and juicy. The flavor is mellow but very savory. While I was at it, I also fried up some zucchini and shishito peppers from our garden, and a few pieces of sweet Vidalia onion.