Probably one of the best ways to eat maitakes. Using rice flour for the batter, deep frying the mushrooms to perfection at 375F gives the tempura a nice big crunch. The woodsy, robust flavor of chicken-of-the-woods mushrooms works very well with the lime salt…..deep fried margarita, anyone?…I mean, maitake.
Chef’s tip: Sprinkling the maitake with some cornstarch absorbs any excess moisture, and allows the batter to adhere to the mushrooms better.
Zest of 1 lime
2 tablespoon Maldon sea salt
1 lb maitake or hens of the woods mushroom
2 cups rice flour
1 egg yolk
2 cups club soda, chilled cold
1 cup of cornstarch
4 cups of canola oil
Lime, cut into wedges
Preparing the lime sea salt:
1. Using a mortar and pestle, muddle salt with zest. Salt can be stored in an air tight container for up to 2 weeks.
Preparing the mushroom:
2. Wipe maitake with a damp towel to clean. Trim roots. Break into small chunks about 2 inch square.
Preparing the batter:
3. Whisk egg yolk, rice flour and club soda in large bowl until just blend.
Cooking the tempura:
4. Heat canola oil in a deep fry pan till 375F
5. Working in batches, sprinkle cornstarch on maitake to cover entirely, then dredge in batter and fry until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer mushroom to a baking rack over a sheet pan to drain.
6. Sprinkle with kosher salt immediately
7. Repeat for remaining maitakes, making sure temperature is maintained at 375F
8. Serve with lime sea salt, and wedges of lime.
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