Shiitakes are also a good example of how much you can learn by tasting. To me, shiitakes taste meaty and solid and strong, and that’s exactly how they work in the body: they’re nourishing and strengthening on a really basic level. Shiitakes give sturdy support to the immune systemâ€”they’re often used to help people recover from viruses and cancer. In Traditional Chinese Medicine they’re strengthening tonics for blood and qi (indications include tiredness and frequent colds).
This is my favorite way to eat shiitakes for winter strength:
Slice up shiitakes and saute them in butter until they’re golden brown. Add salt and freshly chopped garlic at the end of cooking. So good.
(The mushroom’s name is sometimes spelled “shitake”, but the “ii” is a better approximation of the original Japanese.)