This is a fabulous way to cook an amazing mushroom. It’s like a vegetarian chicken and chips. The taste is exquisite and the texture satisfying. My friend chef Carl Shillingford of The Foragers Retreat developed this after a mushroom foray that we did together. We were very hungry!
The hen of the woods (Grifola frondosa) is a saprophytic mushroom – in other words, one that eats decaying wood. It is found at the base of old oak trees. In Japanese its name maitake means dancing butterflies.
- Hen of the woods
- 50 grams organic unsalted butter
- One organic lemon
- Fat hen leaves
- Quail egg
- Straw potatoes
For the Béarnaise sauce
- mead vinegar
- egg yolks
- 300 grams organic unsalted butter
- sea salt to taste
For the straw potatoes: Peel and slice the potatoes on a mandolin. Leave them in cold water for 1 hour. Then drain them well, patting them dry with kitchen paper if very wet, and deep fry them at 180 for 4 minutes.
For the mushroom: While the potatoes are soaking, clean the mushroom brushing away any dirt. Pull it into sections and then poach it with butter and a squeeze of lemon until al dente tender. Wash and blanch the fat hen leaves in boiling water for 30 seconds. Boil the sweetcorn for 5 minutes. Poach the quail egg for 20 seconds in water with a little vinegar.
For the Béarnaise sauce: Peel and slice the shallot, place in a pan with the pepper corns, vinegar and tarragon. Heat the mixture and reduce it by half.Melt the butter on a low heat until it separates.For 50 ml of reduction (passed) add 50 ml of water in a small thick bottomed pan with 4 egg yolks. Whisk for about 4 minutes on a high heat until you have a sabayon .Slowly whisk in the clarified butter
Assembling the dish: Place the fat hen on the plate. Make a nest with the straw potatoes on top of the fat hen. Sprinkle with the sweetcorn. Put the hen of the woods on the ‘nest’ and top with the poached quails egg. Pour the Béarnaise sauce around the nest and serve.