In ancient times, maitake mushrooms were considered both “precious and rare.” (In fact, shoguns once traded them pound for pound with silver.) These days, they’re considered a precious source of vitamins B1, B2, and D, as well as vegetable fiber and polysaccharides. Health benefits aside, maitakes have an amazing taste. The rich, woodsy flavor and the firm, meaty texture of the flesh make them the stand-out ingredient of any dish — including today’s dish! This is no ordinary hot and sour soup, as it uses the tart citrus of blood oranges. Let’s get cooking!
5 slices ginger
2 onions, sliced
1 bunch scallions sliced thinly, separate white and green
4 ribs of celery sliced on bias
1 large head maitake, florets broken off and stem julienned
1 teaspoon ground white pepper
4 blood oranges, juiced
Juice of 2 lemons
3 tablespoons naturally brewed soy sauce
3 quarts chicken stock
Kosher salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste
In a stockpot over medium-high heat coated lightly with oil, sauté the ginger, onions, scallion whites, and celery, then season. Add the maitake stems and sauté for 3 minutes. Season with white pepper, add orange juice, lemon juice, naturally brewed soy sauce, and chicken stock, and check for flavor. Add maitake florets, simmer, and reduce by 20%. Serve in large bowls garnished with scallion greens.
Ming’s wine pairing suggestion
Mas de la Dame Rose du Mas 2007
Taste: Subtle flavors of fresh berries and fennel with a flowery finish
Aroma: Fresh strawberries, peaches and roses
—Pairs nicely with barbecue, pesto pasta, salads, fish and grilled meat
—50% Grenache, 30% Syrah, 20% Cinsault
—Certified organic (Agriculture Biologique) by Qualite France
Ming Tsai is the host and executive producer of public television series Simply Ming. Each week, Simply Ming brings mouthwatering recipes inspired by the combination of East and West into homes across the country.