No wonder he's the king. With his thick stalk and small cap, there's no missing a king mushroom's resemblance to a schlong. I haven't been so embarrassed to buy something in a store since the time I got an Aqua CD. Their low water content means king 'shrooms have a tender fleshiness that suggests scallops and makes them great in stir-fries. You can find them in Chinatown's bigger supermarkets, like Hua Long (253 Spadina, 416-977-8597) and Tai Kong (410 Spadina, 416-581-0129), and on the menu at Café 668 (668 Dundas West, 416-703-0668), a tiny but quite remarkable vegetarian spot near Bathurst.
This quick, sexy recipe for King Mushrooms with Asparagus proves there's more to these porcini cousins than their phallic qualities. And no snickering!
Slice one 6-inch king mushroom into a dozen or so 1/2-inch slices. Chop 1/2 pound asparagus spears into thirds and roughly cut one sweet red bell pepper. Mince three garlic cloves and sliver a 1/2-inch piece of ginger. Heat 2 tablespoons peanut oil over medium-high heat and add the garlic and ginger. Stir-fry for a minute. Add the asparagus and peppers and stir-fry another two. Add the mushrooms and stir-fry one more minute. At the end, add 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce and mix well. Remove from heat and serve the veggies on a large plate garnished with raw bean sprouts, fresh coriander leaves and squirts of lime juice and Srirachi hot sauce.