It’s Grifola frondosa—aka Hen of the Woods or Maitake—season here in the northern stretches of Appalachia and I couldn’t be happier. Here’s my favorite way to prepare Hen of the Woods:
Fresh, wild Hen of the Woods (use cultivated maitake if you must)
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
Clean Hens by brushing off any clinging dirt or leaves. Slice maitake lengthwise into thin steaks or tear into individual leaves or pieces.
Toss maitake in a bit of oil. Season with salt and fresh pepper.
Loosely arrange Hens on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Do not crowd the pan or the maitake will steam rather crisp. (An error I made just last week.)
Roast maitake in 450 degree over for 20 to 30 minutes or until they are crackling crisp at the edges.
Remove Hens from oven and rest until cool enough to eat. Consume as a snack or add to your favorite dish.