The shiitake mushroom is originally from Japan, where it grows on trees. It is the second most widely grown mushroom in the world after the white mushroom.
Shiitakes vary in colour from light to very dark brown, but can be recognised by their flat cap, open veils and distinctive smell. They have a large, fleshy, brown cap, 4 to 10 cm in diameter.
The shiitake tastes as deliciously spicy as it smells. It has a soft, spongy quality, producing a woodsy flavour and texture when cooked.
Preparation and serving suggestions
Rinse or brush very slightly, then slice and saute in butter or oil. Since shiitakes are widely popular in Asia, we consider them to be the most exquisite ingredient in the Asian cuisine. Its intense taste complements greatly meat dishes, omelettes and soups.
Stems can be quite fibrous, so they are better suited as a soup ingredient rather than sauteed.
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