Lion’s Mane and Maitake (Hen of the Woods) Mushrooms from Baltimore Farmers Market

As soon as I purchased the lion’s mane and maitake mushrooms on Sunday, I was already excited about making them when we got home. I knew that given both would have delicate flavors and meaty textures that I’d want to lightly pan sear them with a little olive oil, a bit of butter, and season simply with sea salt and pepper. I remember I had also purchased a container of ricotta last week, so they’d go really well together on some crusty bread slices and a drizzle of olive oil. So that’s how I made them this morning. Unfortunately, to get the nice brown sear on both sides, I did create some smoke on my carbon steel pans, which did not sit well with Pookster’s eyes or our air purifier, even with the stove fan on high blast, but I had no choice. But at least it wouldn’t last too long. With one bite of both the maitake and the lion’s mane, and I knew that this purchase was absolutely worth it: the lion’s mane had this interesting, meaty, almost scallop like texture with a light flavor. The maitakes were a bit crunchy and had a deep, earthy flavor. I was obsessed with both and wish I had four times the amount. But if I did, I’d have spent $80, which I wasn’t really going to do with mushrooms… at least, not this time. These mushrooms looked, felt, and tasted extremely luxurious. I just love, love fungus — of the edible variety.

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