For years I had been curious about the taste of the matsutake, the most coveted mushroom in Japan. There they are sometimes sold for more than 1500 euros per kilo and are becoming increasingly rare.
This week I tasted my first one and WOW!!!… what a taste and what an overwhelmingly intense smell! I prepared my matsutake mushroom the classic Japanese way. Steamed on top of sticky rice in dashi with a drop of mirin, some soy sauce and sake. Before steaming, I first put my precious mushroom on the grill. My kitchen filled itself with the smell of a cowshed in a pine forest after a fall shower. And yes, that is really delicious! I only had one mushroom, but it transformed a simple pan of rice into the tastiest I had ever had. The soft, sticky rice absorbed the flavor of the matsutake, which was firm and tasted like the essence of mushroom. As of today matsutake is my favorite mushroom, my favorite food!
150 g matsutake (or use porcini/cèpe)
1 tsp rice oil or refined olive oil
250 g Japanese sticky rice
350 ml dashi
30 ml Japanese soy sauce + extra for serving
15 ml mirin + extra for serving
10 ml sake
Clean the matsutake mushroom. Peel the stalk thinly and if possible peel the hat. Cut into pretty slices. Chop the trimmings.
Preheat a grill pan over high heat. Brush the mushrooms with a little oil on both sides and sprinkle with salt. Grill for a few minutes on both sides until grill marks appear.
Wash the rice until the water runs clear. Drain and put in a pan along with the trimmings, dashi, soy sauce, mirin and sake. Bring to the boil and top with the grilled slices of matsutake. Cover and cook for 10 minutes on the lowest heat. Remove from the heat and leave to stand covered for another 15 minutes. Don’t open the lid!
Remove the matsutake slices from the rice and divide the rice into 4 bowls. Add some parsley and top with the matsutake. Mix equal parts mirin with soy sauce and add to taste.