Ingredient Spotlight: Wood Ear Mushrooms

Perhaps you've noticed these thin, brown slivers of crunchy, squeaky mushrooms in hot and sour soup or in stir-fries. Called wood ear mushrooms, they're more easily found in dried form, but fresh ones can sometimes be found in Asian markets. And like their name states, they do grow on trees and they also look like ears!

This mushroom is also known as tree fungus, jelly fungus, Jew's Ear, and Judas' Ear. They're commonly found in Asian cuisine. They don't have a whole lot of flavor, but their squeaky texture is interesting. If purchased in dried form, simply reconstitute in some hot water. If bought fresh, rinse them under cold water to remove any dirt. Chop them up and add them to soups and stir-fries.

Related:
How to Hunt for Morel Mushrooms (Plus a Recipe)
Seasonal Spotlight: Abalone Mushrooms
Seasonal Spotlight: Wine Cap Mushrooms

(Image: Kathryn Hill)