Shiitake is the Japanese name given to these fungi - Shii being the type of tree they are grown on in Japan, and Take which means mushroom. Shiitakes were among the first mushrooms cultivated by people, and have been written about as early as 199 AD
They are known for their distinct flavor, their firm "meaty" texture, and as a healing food. Among the health benefits Shiitake mushrooms can offer are:
Lowering serum cholesterol and blood pressure
Building immune system
Low in fat and Calories
Good source of fiber and niacin
Rich in B vitamins
All nine essential amino acids are present
Calcium, phosphorus, iron, sodium and potassium are present in significant amounts
Shiitakes are good sautéed in 2 TBS. Butter or olive oil for 2 or 3 minutes, then served over baked potatoes or noodles, or as a side dish. They can be marinated in salad dressing and added to a tossed salad, used in omelets or quiche, sliced on top of pizza or into spaghetti sauce. They are also great brushed with butter or oil and grilled over medium to hot coals for 10-15 minutes, as well as added to stir fry or soups.
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