The Washington Post

Maitake Tacos

Maitake Tacos 4.000

Renee Comet for The Washington Post; styling by Bonnie S. Benwick

Plate Lab Jun 5, 2016

Lacy-edged mushrooms, a smoky-spicy salsa and tart pickled onions combine to make taco perfection.

You'll need a thermometer for monitoring the frying oil.

Make Ahead: The dried chilies need to soak in the water for 15 minutes. The pickled onions and the salsa can be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.


When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 4 servings; makes 12 tacos

  • For the pickled onions
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon light or dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 large white onion, halved, then thinly sliced
  • For the salsa
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 2 dried chipotle chile peppers, split in half and seeds removed
  • 2 cloves garlic, halved lengthwise
  • 6 ounces tomatillos (5 to 6 medium), husked, rinsed and cut into quarters
  • 1/4 medium white onion, cut into chunks (about 1/3 cup)
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon mezcal (optional; may substitute a smoky reposado tequila such as Sauza Hornitos)
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 4 teaspoons sugar
  • For the tacos
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • 1 1/4 pounds maitake mushrooms, torn into 2-to-3-inch pieces
  • Twelve 6-inch corn tortillas, warmed
  • Fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish
  • Flaky sea salt, to garnish


For the pickled onions: Combine the vinegar, water, brown sugar, allspice and salt in a small saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat. Pack the onion slices into a clean pint jar and pour the liquid over them. Press them to submerge, and let cool.

For the salsa: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Pour the boiling water over the chilies in a small bowl. Let them soak for 15 minutes.

Wrap the garlic in aluminum foil. Place the foil packet, the tomatillos and onion on a rimmed baking sheet; roast until the tomatillos are soft and starting to brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Open the foil and transfer the garlic to a blender, along with the tomatoes and onion. Add the soaked chilies; discard their soaking water. Add the orange juice, mezcal (if using), salt and sugar, and blend until smooth. You should have about 3/4 cup.

For the tacos: Pour the vegetable oil into a large skillet to a depth of 2 inches. When it reaches 350 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, carefully drop in as many of the mushrooms as will fit without crowding. Working in batches, fry until they are lightly browned, crisp and lacy, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Remove them with a slotted spoon, allowing the extra oil to drip off before transferring them to a paper-towel-lined plate. Repeat with the remaining mushrooms.

To serve, set 3 warmed tortillas on each of four plates. Divide the mushrooms among the tortillas, and top each with about 1 tablespoon of salsa and a few slivers of pickled onion. Serve immediately.

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Recipe Source

Adapted from a recipe from chef Alexis Samayoa of Espita Mezcaleria in the District.

Tested by Joe Yonan.

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Nutritional Facts

Ingredients are too variable for a meaningful analysis.

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