This week’s episode of Food — Delicious Science covers how food literally builds our bodies. It’s a topic that brings new meaning to Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin’s famous quote “Tell me what you eat and I will tell you what you are.”
One takeaway for me was the relationship vitamin D has with your body’s ability to absorb calcium. Vitamin D is naturally produced by our bodies when our skin is exposed to sunlight, but in our modern office dwelling world, many of us don’t get enough vitamin D, which in turn can inhibit our body’s ability to absorb calcium. The good news, is that there are some foods, that do the work of converting sunlight into vitamin D for us, and there is perhaps no food source more rich in vitamin D than Maitake mushrooms.
I’ve writen before about the wonders of Maitake mushrooms (a.k.a. Hen of the Woods), but by pairing them with a lemon yogurt sauce, I’ve created something that hits both nutritional needs with one tasty dish.
Unfortunately most of the Maitake mushrooms available in stores have been grown indoors and unless they’ve been exposed to UV light during processing, they don’t contain as much Vitamin D as they have the potential to. Luckily it’s easy to fix this, by giving the mushrooms some time in the sun. One USDA study found that UV light exposure of as little as 15-20 seconds can have a significant impact on the amount of Vitamin D contained in the mushrooms. The other benefit of leaving the mushrooms out in the sun for a bit is it dries them out a bit, which makes it easier for them to crisp in the pan.
The resulting steak is crisp on the outside and meaty and flavorful on the inside. Served with a thick lemon yogurt sauce, it’s a satisfyingly flavorful combo that will make you want to lick your plate clean.
About Food – Delicious Science
Food – Delicious Science is the scientific story of the food on your plate. Michael Mosley and James Wong present a celebration of the physics, chemistry and biology that lies hidden inside every bite. The third episode airs Wednesday, May 31 at 10:00pm | Check local listings
Crispy Maitake Steak with Yogurt Sauce
- For yogurt sauce:
- 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
- zest from 1/2 lemon
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- For Maitake steaks:
- 12 ounces maitake mushrooms (in one clump)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 10 sprigs fresh thyme (leaves only)
- 0.25 ounces garlic (about 1 large clove, minced)
- Sea salt (to taste)
- Black pepper (to taste)
- Trim any tough bits off the stems of the maitake. Split the clump of maitake mushrooms in half so that you have two pieces that are roughly the same thickness.
- Set the maitake mushrooms on a tray and place them in the sun for one hour, with the gills facing up.
- To make the yogurt sauce, whisk the Greek yogurt, lemon zest, lemon juice and salt together in a small bowl and keep it refrigerated while you prepare the steaks.
- When you're ready to make the steaks, drizzle the olive oil evenly over both pieces of maitake and then sprinkle on the thyme and garlic. Generously salt and pepper the maitake to taste.
- Place the seasoned maitake steaks in a frying pan and then place a heavy pan or pot on the mushrooms to press them down.
- Turn the heat onto medium and fry the maitake on one side until golden brown. Remove the weight and flip the mushrooms over and then put the weight back on them. Fry until golden brown.
- Remove the weight and flip the mushrooms over, frying them on the first side until it crisps.
- Serve the maitake steaks with the yogurt sauce.
Yield: Makes 2 maitake steaks
Marc Matsumoto is a culinary consultant and recipe repairman who shares his passion for good food through his website norecipes.com. For Marc, food is a life long journey of exploration, discovery and experimentation and he shares his escapades through his blog in the hopes that he inspires others to find their own culinary adventures. Marc’s been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today, and has made multiple appearances on NPR and the Food Network.