Hen of the Woods Roast with Leeks and Black Walnuts
A large cluster of hen of the woods mushroom(about 1.5 lbs) meticulously cleaned and washed if needed
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepperto taste
1large leektender parts only, cut into fine 1 inch julienne
2tablespoonstoasted black walnuts
2tablespoonsflavorless cooking oilplus extra if needed since very dry mushrooms will soak up more
Fresh cut chivesto garnish (optional)
Preheat the oven to 375. In a large cast iron skillet or heavy saute pan large enough to accomodate the chunk of hen of the woods, heat the 2 tablespoons of oil. Brown the hen gently on the cut sides and as many others as you can manage, seasoning with salt and pepper along the way.
When the hen has been browned and caramelized a bit, move the hen to one side of the pan and add the butter to the pan along with the garlic and leeks. Put the pan in the oven and cook for 15-20 minutes, or until the hen is completely cooked and hot throughout.
When the hen is cooked through, remove the pan from the oven, stirring a bit to distribute the leeks around the side of the pan, which should be a little browned and caramelized, then remove the hen of the woods to a cutting board and slice into serving pieces.
Put the pieces of mushroom into a warmed serving dish or casserole (pictured), then toss the walnuts in with the leeks, double check the seasoning, then spoon the buttery leek-walnut mixture over the hen slices in the dish so diners can help themselves at the table. Garnish with chives and serve immediately.