Shiitake mushrooms are meaty-flavored Asian mushrooms that have flat, dark brown caps usually 2-3 inches (5-7.5 cm) in diameter. The tough, thin stems are usually trimmed off and discarded. Shiitakes are available fresh or dried. When selecting fresh shiitakes, look for firm, plump mushrooms that are not slimy or bruised. Store unwashed-lightly wrapped in paper towels or in a paper bag, never in plastic-in the refrigerator. Dried mushrooms can be stored indefinitely.
To clean fresh shiitake mushrooms:
Remove grit by wiping with a damp paper towel or mushroom brush. For a more thorough cleaning, swish the mushrooms very briefly in water, then pat dry with paper towels.To reconstitute dried shiitake mushrooms: Soak in warm water until softened, 20-30 minutes.For other mushroom varieties, see button, chanterelle, Chinese black, cremini, cultivated, oyster, porcini, portobello, straw, and tree ear mushrooms, and truffles.