A very special mushroom, to say the least. Matsutake smells like a pine wood forest and its taste is intense and unique. It’s also expensive and rare. If you happen to find it, be sure to buy it.
Earlier we used Matsutake to make a soup and we combined it with spinach and ginger. In this recipe we combine Matsutake with Garland Chrysanthemum (Glebionis coronaria) also known as Tong Ho or Shungiku. It is a widely used vegetable in Japan, China, Vietnam and Korea. Its taste is delicate, a touch bitter and different (unless you’re familiar with chrysanthemum tea); one that goes very well with dashi, sesame seeds, mushrooms, mirin and soy sauce. If the vegetable is young, you can eat the stalks and the leaves. Also great as tempura. We use the leaves only for making a salad.
Wine and Sake pairing
We enjoyed a glass of Camino de Caza Almansa Sobre Lías Verdejo 2021. An organic white wine produced by Bodegas Piqueras and made with selected verdejo grapes from the Almansa region in Spain. It’s an aromatic, fresh wine with flavours that will make you think of yellow fruit (peach) and it has a welcome touch of bitterness. The combination of the intense Matsutake and the intriguing Chrysanthemum begs for a dry, white wine with character. You could also serve a glass of a cold, not too crispy sake, for instance a Taru Sake (a sake aged in barrels made of Japanese cedar).
What You Need
75 grams of Matsutake
200 grams of Garland Chrysanthemum
150 ml Dashi
3 teaspoons Light Soy Sauce
3 teaspoons Mirin
What You Do
Make 150 ml of dashi. Let cool. Add light soy sauce and mirin. Mix. Remove the stems of the Chrysanthemum. Wash the leaves in water. Add to a pan with boiling water and blanch for 45 seconds. Transfer the leaves to a basin with cold water. When the leaves are cold, gently remove the excess water and transfer to the dashi mixture. Leave in the refrigerator for one hour. Clean the matsutake. Take your time to do this. Remove the lower half of the stem. Slice the mushrooms, chop the stem. In a non-stick pan heat a little olive oil, just enough to gently fry the mushrooms. When ready, remove the leaves from the mixture, combine with the chopped mushroom, mix. Add the salad to a plate, decorate with the fried slices of matsutake and add a small drizzle of walnut oil.
Hurray! The mushroom season has started! Last Saturday we bought delicious cèpes and chanterelles. Such a treat. It does of course mean that summer is over, which makes us a bit sad, but it also means the joy of eating wonderful dishes such as Cèpes à la Bordelaise or Salad with Mushrooms and smoked Duck (see below). Last year we prepared a Pâté with bay boletes, which was both beautiful and delicious. Will we be able to buy them this year? Or perhaps the intriguing Japanese Matsutake? It’s been some time since we last saw them on the market, and we would really love to make Matsutake with Spinach and Ginger again. How about Caesar’s mushroom with Udon?
If you’re looking for useful mushroom recipes, then we suggest Antonio Carluccio’s The Quiet Hunt or Mushroom by Johnny Acton and Nick Sadler. Or look at our list of mushroom recipes.
Combining wine and salad is never obvious. In the case of a salad with mushrooms and duck we need to consider umami (mushrooms, duck), a touch of sweetness (smoked or cured meat) and the acidity of the dressing. We choose Domaine de Rimauresq Côtes de Provence Cru Classé rosé. A classic wine from the French Provence with grapes such as grenache noir, mourvèdre, ugniblanc and rolle. The wine comes with delicate fruity, fresh flavours and aromas. It is very well balanced, dry and mouth filling and it combines beautifully with all aspects of the salad. In general you’re looking for a white or rosé wine that has complexity and length, without being overpowering.
What You Need
150 grams of Mushrooms (Cèpes preferred but also great with Oyster Mushrooms or a mix of Champignon de Paris, Shiitake and others)
Dried or Smoked Breast of Duck
Vinegar (Red Wine, Jerez or Raspberry)
What You Do
Clean and slice the mushrooms. Heat a heavy iron skillet and fry the mushrooms in olive oil. Make a dressing of oil and vinegar. Toss the mesclun and the dressing. Transfer the salad to a plate, add mushrooms and finish with 3 or 5 slices of duck.
This year seems to be an exceptionally good year for Matsutake. Antonio Carluccio once described it is a much-overrated mushroom but we dare to disagree. Just smell it! Pine, pine, pine. A unique mushroom. We tried making this soup with shiitake, but the result is not as refined, delicate and well-balanced. The key elements are of course the (home-made) dashi, the matsutake and the shrimps. Kamaboko (made from processed seafood) and Mitsuba (Japanese parsley) add colour (and some extra flavour) to the dish.
What You Need
0,5 l of Water
10 gram of Konbu
10 gram of Katsuobushi
75 gram of Matsutake
Light Soy Sauce
If you want to serve a drink with the soup, then serve taru sake. This is a dry sake characterized by its refreshing taste and the wooden aroma of Yoshino cedar. A wonderful link to the matsutake. And if you bought a bottle of taru sake, then please use this sake for marinating the shrimps.
What You Do
With a damp cloth clean the matsutake. Be careful not to remove the skin. The root should be cut like a pencil. Clean the shrimps and cut lengthwise in two. Let marinade in two tablespoons of sake and transfer to the refrigerator for an hour. Gently warm the dashi, add a small tablespoon of sake and a similar quantity (or less) of soy sauce. Cut the matsutake in 8 similar slices and add to the soup. After a few minutes (depending on the size of the matsutake) add four slices of kamaboko and the shrimps. Taste and add some more soy sauce and or yuzu if needed. Serve immediately when the shrimps are ready. If available add some mitsuba.
A very special mushroom, to say the least. Well known throughout Japan, China and South Korea as a true delicacy. Matsutake smells like a pine wood forest and its taste is intense, aromatic, lasting and unique. As if you could taste Autumn. It’s an expensive mushroom (around 110 euro per kilo) with very limited availability. But if you happen to find it, be sure to buy it. Between 75 and 100 grams is fine for two.
The Matsutake makes this into an unforgettable dish. It will bring you back to earth in a split second. Smell it, taste it and feel how satisfying and relaxing it is.
Best served with a dry sake. We prefer Junmai Taru Sake as produced by Kiku-Masamune. This fine sake is matured in barrels made of the finest Yoshino cedar. The aroma has indeed clear hints of cedar. The sake will clear your palate and allow for a more intense taste of the Matsutake.
What You Need
75 – 100 gram of Matsutake
Some Spinach (preferably what is called the ‘wild’ version, cleaned and without the stem)
Soy Sauce (reduced salt)
What You Do
Clean the Matsutake and cut in small dices. The size you would like to eat them (Matsutake doesn’t shrink like many other mushrooms; it remains firm). Warm the soy sauce, add a touch of sesame oil and flavour with very small cubes of ginger. Fry the Matsutake gently in a skillet in some olive oil, no longer than 3 minutes. In parallel blanch the spinach in the liquid. Quickly drain the spinach and set aside. Reduce the liquid and taste. Add some excellent sesame oil and whisk. In parallel chop the spinach. Put spinach on a plate, gently add some sauce and then sprinkle the Matsutake over the spinach..