Chinese Black Mushrooms / Lentins de Chêne
These are the most commonly used mushroom in China, Japan and Korea. While fresh shiitakes are wonderful, drying brings out their intense savouriness, which seams to enhance the flavours of every ingredient in the dish. They must first be soaked, preferably for hours in tepid water, but if you're pinched for time, for a half hour in hot (but not boiling) water. The soaking water and the stems, which are too tough to eat, may be used to flavour stocks. Use shiitakes in stir-fries, soups, braised dishes, rice and noodles. Shiitakes are said to have significant health benefits.