Also called “Hen of the Woods”, the name Maitake comes from the Japanese word ‘mai’ (dance) and take (mushroom), or the ‘dancing mushroom’. The overlapping caps resemble a pile of leaves, giving the effect of dancing butterflies. This mushroom ranges in color from pure white to brownish grey. Exposure to direct sunlight turns it darker.
Maitakes have a distinctive aroma and a rich, woodsy taste. For a richer taste in any recipe that calls for mushrooms, use maitakes. Sauté them lightly in butter or oil, or use them as an ingredient in main or side dishes and soups.