The shiitake mushroom is one of the traditional mushrooms of many Asian cuisines. Originally wild-harvested in Japan and Korea, shiitake mushrooms have been farmed by the Japanese for over 600 years, and are now cultivated around the world.
Dried shiitake mushrooms reconstitute very well and are frequently preferred over fresh in many dishes. The meaty flesh of the shiitake imparts its distinctive full-bodied, woodsy flavor to any dish. The convex, cinnamon brown, thick fleshy caps make a wonderful meat substitute for vegetarians. The meaty flesh of the shiitake is frequently substituted for other "wild mushrooms" in many dishes, but this versatile fungus is suitable for almost any cooking method from grilling to simmering and stir-frying.
Use shiitakes in traditional Asian dishes, in hearty mushroom soups or in savory sauces for meat and poultry. Excellent in risottos, omelettes, and quiche.
Many health benefits have been attributed to eating shiitake mushrooms, including strengthening the immune system. Shiitake mushrooms are high in vitamins B and D. Studies have shown that these flavorful and readily available mushrooms may have anti-tumor, cholesterol-lowering, and antiviral properties.
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