Saturday, January 17, 2009

Wishi


What the heck is Wishi you may ask... Hen of the Woods or Maitake are other names for this delicious wild mushroom. Wishi is the Cherokee name for it and I love it! To me this mushroom tastes like meat, no kidding. The old timers would cook their wishi in different types of grease and then the Wishi would taste like whatever grease they had used. Lard would give a pork taste, fat that fish was cooked in a fish taste, I think you know what I mean. We like ours cooked in a little canola oil with salt and lots of coarsely ground black pepper. Where do we get our Wishi?... Well if I told you that I would have to kill you. Around these parts you NEVER give the location of your mushroom patch. I did not take any pictures of the Wishi before it was cooked, that will have to wait for this Fall's crop. They usually are found in October here on Beaty's Creek. Here are a couple of ways to cook this versatile mushroom.

When you gather the Wishi you will take it home and clean it very well. I do this under running water. You will strip the Wishi into 1/2 strips or 3/4 inch strips if you want to deep fry it. Once all of the wishi is stripped you will place it into a large pot,( I use a large dutch oven.) and cover the Wishi with water. Boil for about 15-20 minutes. Your water will have a dark color to it when you pour the water off. Drain Wishi very well, now is the time to either freeze your Wishi or cook it! I do both so we can enjoy the Wishi all through the year.

Fried Wishi:

Coat a heavy bottomed skillet with about a 1/4 inch of canola oil or any oil you choose. Heat oil over medium heat and add Wishi. Salt and pepper to taste. We cook it until it slightly browns on one side and then we turn it and brown the other side. We like ours a little crispy. Now is the time to eat that delicious mushroom!

Deep Fried Wishi:

Needed:
All-purpose flour
Salt and Pepper to taste
Oil

Make sure your Wishi is dried from boiling it. Place about 5 cups of flour in a brown paper bag add salt and pepper to taste and place Wishi in bag. Coat as you would chicken to fry. Really shake off extra flour. Helps keep your oil clean. Heat about 3 inches of oil in a deep pan or deep fryer. Place Wishi in a little at a time. Don't crowd Wishi or it will stick together. Fry until golden brown. Serve right away!