Very simply, this is quite possibly the tastiest wild mushroom out there (let’s pretend that truffles aren’t part of that competition for now!)
The name ‘Hen Of The Woods’ comes from the slightly feathery display this mushroom has which, combined with the sizes some of these beasts can get to, makes them unmistakable as a species and a really good beginners mushroom. It does have a habit of collecting woodland debris - twigs, leaves, the odd woodlouse - so you may wish to brush/wipe/rinse your mushrooms before using. Do use them as fresh as possible though as they will turn mushy before you know it.
We find these mushrooms are best taking the spotlight in your meal and should be cooked in the simplest way possible. Instead of letting them get lost in a big stew or a heavy sauce, try gently sautéing in oil or butter with just a simple seasoning. Add a dash of cream, a sprig of thyme or even a pinch of Parmesan for another dimension to what should be a cracking lunch.
As with all wild mushrooms, these need to be cooked before consuming.