Matsutake Mushroom Season
- Paul H
Here in San Francisco, we have a great mushroom store, Far West Fungi, in the Ferry Building amonst all of the other boutique food purveyors. Yesterday, I noticed white truffles for $214/oz. which -- can you guess ? -- I passed on. However, three weeks ago, I noticed they had matsutakes. That first week they were $36/lb., the next $24/lb., and yesterday they were $32/lb. Of course, I didn't buy any when they were a "bargain" but I did succumb to temptation on Saturday.
They are obviously wild, as they need serious cleaning to get the dirt and sand off of them. They have a woody, earthy aroma and a very firm texture, almost crunchy. They hold up really well to cooking, retaining the texture through anything I've tried so far.
I ended up using them in a Japanese dish: matsutake dobin mushi, which is a clear broth soup full of interesting things. Mine included matsutakes, shrimp, gingko nuts, sake, shoyu, Japanese parsley, lime zest, and yuzu juice. Even though the shopping was an adventure-and-a-half, the result was excellent, and I'll be trying it again. I drank some Emilio Lustau Fino Sherry with the soup and it was a great pairing. I have a theory that there isn't a food that doesn't pair well with some style of sherry. Experiments so far prove me right.
I'm still experimenting, but I don't think these would be good sauteed with a steak.
By the way, for anyone in San Francisco, there are PILES of packaged matsutakes in the Nijiya Market in Japatown for $29.99 per pound. I suspect they will be available for a few more weeks.
Dobin mushi sounds lovely. In Japan it is typically served in a teapot vessel.
If you have some leftover consider making a matsutake gohan dish.
In your rice cooker combine:
2 cups washed rice
80 grams sliced matsutake
20 grams julienned deep-fried tofu (aburaage)
10 grams julienned carrots
20 grams julienned burdock root (gobo)
10 grams shimeji mushrooms
small handful of mitsuba greens
In your rice cooker, combine the rice, matsutake, and deep-fried tofu with 1 1/2 cups dashi, 4 teaspoons soy sauce, and 4 teaspoons sake and start to cook. After about 15 minutes, open up the rice coooker and add the chopped up mitsuba leaves. (Yes, I know you are not supposed to open up the rice cooker, but you can. If you put the mitsuba in at the beginning it will steam to mush).
Meanwhile soften the carrots, burdock root and shimeji in 1 cup dashi, 2 teaspoons soy sauce and 2 teaspoons mirin over heat (about 10 minutes), or until the liquid disippates (the burdock will take a while to soften).
When the rice is done, combine with the cooked vegies. Be sure to drain any remaining liquid from the vegetable pot or the rice will soften.
Sherry sounds great with this. Or the heartiness of the dish could stand up to an old world white, to match the earthiness of the dish.
Enjoy! `Tis the season.