Mapo Tofu (vegetarian)

The first time we ordered Mapo Tofu we naively expected it to be a vegetarian dish. It isn’t but we were immediately impressed by the aromas and flavours. The Sichuan pepper gives the dish a floral, citrusy touch. The combination of the silky, soft tofu with the ground pork and the scallions is very rich. It allows for spiciness, but it’s also fine to be modest with the Chili Bean Sauce.

A wonderful, heart-warming dish, but not vegetarian. We replaced the meat with mushrooms (shiitake turned out to be the best choice) and we think it’s a lighter, equally tasty but different, version of Mapo Tofu.

Sichuan pepper is not related to black pepper or chili. It’s actually not spicy. It causes a pleasant numbing sensation on your tongue and lips, for a few minutes only, which is surprisingly nice when eating spicy food. We recommend lightly toasting the peppers before grinding or crushing them.

Drink Pairing

Jasmine tea is an obvious choice. It has a nice aroma and floral taste. The combination with the spices and the Sichuan pepper works really well.

What You Need

  • 250 grams of mixed Mushrooms (with lots of Shiitake)
  • 300 grams of Silken Tofu
  • 200 ml Vegetarian Stock
  • 2 tablespoons light Soy Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Mirin
  • 3 teaspoons Sesame Oil
  • 2 Garlic Cloves
  • 1 small Onion
  • 2 Scallions
  • 3 teaspoons of chopped Fresh Ginger
  • ½ -1 tablespoon Chili Bean Sauce (Douban, Toban-Djan)
  • 1-2 teaspoons Black Bean Sauce (Douchi)
  • 1 teaspoon of Sichuan Pepper
  • Oil
  • Cornstarch

What You Do

Toast the Sichuan peppers lightly in a non-stick pan. Remove the peppers from the pan and let cool. Chop the shallot, the garlic and the fresh ginger. Slice the scallions and separate the white from the green. Clean and slice the mushrooms. Slice the tofu and make cubes (2 cm, 1 inch). Warm the stock. Add oil to the pan and fry the mushrooms. After a few minutes, add soy sauce, mirin and sesame oil. Combine and leave to simmer for a few minutes. Remove from the pan and keep warm in the oven at 50 °C or 120 °F. Grind the Sichuan peppers coarsely.
Add oil to the pan. Fry the white part of the scallions, the onion, the garlic and the ginger. Mix. Add the chili bean sauce and fry. Enjoy the aromas! Add half of the grounded Sichuan pepper. Add the stock, the tofu, the mushrooms and the black bean sauce. Use a spatula to mix. Allow to simmer for 15 minutes or so until the sauce is nicely reduced and the flavours mixed. In the meantime, finely crush the remaining Sichuan pepper. Use cornstarch to create the right consistency. Just before serving sprinkle with Sichuan pepper and the green of the scallions.

Side Dish

Serving Mapo Tofu with rice is a great idea. We enjoyed it with some Bok Choy (Pak Choi) simmered in Oyster Sauce.

What You Need

What You Do

Wash and slice the bok choy. Separate the green from the white. Fry the white of the bok choy in olive oil for a few minutes. Then add Thai oyster Sauce and water. Taste and add some soy sauce. Leave for a few minutes. Adjust by adding Thai oyster sauce or soy sauce. Just before serving add the green of the bok choy and mix.

Mapo Tofu (Vegetarian) ©cadwu
Mapo Tofu (Vegetarian) ©cadwu

Salad of Small Artichokes

The season of artichokes varies depending on the variety and where you are based. In Italy it’s from mid-winter until early spring, in other countries from March to June, or September and October. And in other countries they peak in August. Best is to decide based on quality and price. An artichoke should feel heavy, look fresh and the leaves should be closed. If the leaves are wide open, the artichoke is older and it could be dry with lots of choke (the hairs) and dry inner leaves.

Don’t cook artichokes in boiling water. They must cook for 45+ minutes and during the long cooking process they will lose most of their flavour. Best is to steam artichokes.

Serve large artichokes as a relaxing starter or use them to make Artichoke Barigoule or a Pie. We use smaller ones to make a salad.  You can serve it to accompany an aperitif, or with some bread as a starter. Make sure you have plenty of dressing!

Wine Pairing

It’s not straightforward to pair artichokes with wine. According to various researchers this is due to cynarin, a chemical especially found in the leaves of the artichoke. When the wine and the cynarin meet in your mouth, the natural sweetness of the wine is enhanced, making it taste too sweet. So you have to pair freshly cooked or steamed artichokes with a bone-dry, crisp, unoaked white wine with clear, present acidity. For instance, Sauvignon Blanc, Grüner Veltliner or Albariño.
We enjoyed a glass of Château Pajzos Tokaj Furmint 2019. This dry, white wine made from the well-known Hungarian Furmint grape is fresh, clean and slightly floral. It supports the Salad of Artichokes beautifully.

What You Need

  • 6 small Artichokes
  • Olive Oil
  • Vinegar
  • Mayonnaise
  • Mustard
  • Garlic
  • Thyme
  • Black Pepper

What You Do

Remove the stem of the artichokes and steam the artichokes for 45 – 60 minutes, depending on the size. Remove and let cool. Peel of the first layers of the outer leaves. Make the dressing by turning the mustard and the crushed garlic into a smooth paste. Then gently add the other ingredients and whisk well to make it really smooth, thick dressing. Cut the artichokes in 6 or 8 parts. Add to the dressing, mix well, coating all artichokes. Sprinkle lots of thyme and mix again. Put in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours. Mix again, taste, add some more thyme and serve!

Potato and Truffle Purée

The combination of potatoes and truffle is an interesting one. Because one is the opposite of the other in terms of price and availability? Because both grow underground?

Dutch chef John Halvemaan (also winner of the prestigious Johannes van Dam prize) created a no doubt delicious combination, using butter, veal stock, parsley and cooked bacon. Also very tasty: a recipe for a gratin with crème fraîche and eggs and a recipe by chef Claude Deligne (Le Taillevent in Paris) with foie gras. All far too complex for us, so we prepared a very rich and tasty potato purée with lots of truffle.

If you look for recipes with potatoes and truffle, you will find suggestions using truffle oil. It’s not the real thing, however, if you find quality truffle oil and use only a little bit, your purée will be yummy. The sad news is that some (most?) truffle oil comes with 2,4-dithiapentane, a synthetically produced, aromatic molecule. Producers add this because it gives the impression that the oil contains truffle. Unfortunately, the flavours of 2,4-dithiapentane are not even close to the aromas and taste of a real truffle.

In this case you have to spend some money on both the truffle and the potatoes.

We combined our purée with an excellent rib eye and served it with its own jus and the purée.

Wine Pairing

We enjoyed a glass of Camino de Caza Almansa Garnacha Tintorera-Monastrell 2020. An organic red wine produced by Bodegas Piqueras and made grapes from the Almansa region in Spain. It’s a full-bodied wine with soft tannins and a hint of vanilla and chocolate. In general, you’re looking for a smooth wine with notes of red fruit and oak, medium acidity and with a long, dry finish. One that goes very well with for instance red meat and game (hare, deer).

What You Need

  • Potatoes
  • Butter
  • Egg Yolk
  • Cream
  • Milk
  • Salt
  • Winter Truffle

What You Do

Make your favourite purée! Cook the potatoes until ready (meaning: until the blade of a knife inserted in the potato goes easily through it). Drain. Mash with a fork, add cold butter, combine, add warm milk and/or cream and use a spatula to get the right consistency. You could add a beaten egg yolk (also because eggs and truffle work together wonderfully). Add salt to taste. Perhaps some white pepper. Grate the truffle and add half of it to the purée. The taste of a winter truffle benefits from the warmth of the purée. Just before serving add the remaining truffle.

Potato and Truffle Purée ©cadwu
Potato and Truffle Purée ©cadwu

Tiramisù

Such a simple, tasty, fairly easy to make dessert. No oven needed and the result is always a pleasure to serve. We rely on the recipe of an expert, in our case Dutch pastry chef Cees Holtkamp. Renowned for his excellent patisserie and his truly delicious croquettes. If you ever have the opportunity to visit the shop in Amsterdam, please do so.

After his retirement he started working on his book Dutch Pastry (De Banketbakker in Dutch). The recipes are very clearly written and easy to follow. One of the remarkable aspects of this book is that he prepared all pies, cookies, doughs etcetera in his own home kitchen with basic home cook utensils.

If you want to see his amazing technique and his gently style of creating wonderful patisserie, then visit FoodTube and enjoy how chef Cees Holtkamp and his granddaughter Stella Meijles prepare Pavlova, Black Forest Cake, Lemon Meringue Pie, Saint Honoré, Cheese Butterflies, Tiramisù and many more.

Dutch Pastry is available via the usual channels or via the publisher for 20 euro.

Liqueur

Let’s go back to the Tiramisù. It’s all about eggs, mascarpone, sugar, ladyfingers (savoiarde, sponge fingers or boudoirs) coffee and cocoa powder. Most recipes suggest adding a liqueur to the coffee, for instance rum, cognac, amaretto or marsala. Obviously, we want to add an Italian liqueur to our Tiramisù, so perhaps marsala? This is a fortified wine from Sicily, dry or sweet. A good choice but for some reason the idea of an almond based liqueur is tempting, perhaps because of its slight bitterness in combination with the coffee and the cocoa?

Unfortunately, most amaretto’s taste nasty and artificial. We decided to spend a bit more money and bought a bottle of amaretto produced by Lorenzo Inga. The distillery is located near Gavi, a city known for its amaretti cookies. They produce grappa, bitters and liqueurs such as sambuca and limoncello. Their amaretto is all about almonds. It has a soft structure with a sweet and full mouth feeling. We added it to our Tiramisù and the result was delicious.

Leftovers

The next day we noticed that we had some leftover ladyfingers and also some coffee-amaretto mixture. Why not combine them with whipped double cream and perhaps some vanilla sugar? Would that work? We followed the same approach and stored it in the refrigerator for half a day. We were pleasantly surprised!

  • Tiramisù ©cadwu
  • Amaretto Originale Lorenzo Inga
  • Cees Holtkamp

Bouchot Mussels

When you buy champagne, Cornish Clotted cream, Parmigiano-Reggiano or Kalamate Olives, you want to be sure it’s really champagne, clotted cream, Parmigiano or a Kalamata olive. There are various ways of protecting food (and wine) for instance by law, by creating and protecting a brand, or by systems such as the Appellation d’Origine Protégée (AOP) also known as Protected Designation of Origin (PDO). AOP/PDO is based on unique aspects of a region. For instance, the AOP for Comté cheese reflects the use of milk from specific cows from a region in the French Jura with a unique flora. This determines the cheese, its flavour and quality.

Another system focuses on the way food is produced. If this is done in a unique traditional way, the product can be labelled with Spécialité Traditionnelle Garantie (STG) or Traditional Speciality Guaranteed (TSG).

Bouchot Mussels carry both labels and they come with a special logo. Obviously, you wonder why.
The mussels grow in a unique way, benefitting from the large tide near Mont-Saint-Michel in Normandy. They grow on ropes strung from wooden poles (so called bouchots) in the sea. During a significant part of the day the mussels sit above sea level and therefore they grow slowly. The influence of the tide makes the bouchot mussels typical for the region and the use of poles makes the way the mussels grow unique.

Perhaps you also wonder if these aspects have an impact on the mussel and its taste. The answer is yes. They are small, clean, very tasty, flavourful, juicy and meaty plus they are free of sand and grit.

Preparing bouchot mussels is very simple, because adding flavours will only interfere with the already delicious taste.

Perhaps a bit more expensive than other mussels, but given they are so very tasty and rich, we think it’s perfectly fine to buy less than usual.

Wine Pairing

We enjoyed our Bouchot Mussels with a glass of Muscadet Sèvre et Maine, Domaine Raphaël Luneau. The wine originates from the Loire Valley and is made with 100% Melon de Bourgogne. The wine is stored on its ‘lees’ for several months before bottling. Lees are leftover yeast particles. They add flavour and structure to the wine.
In general, you’re looking for a white wine with minerality, fruit, structure and expression. It must be aromatic with a long taste.

What You Need (Starter)

  • 500 grams of Bouchot Mussels
  • White wine
  • One garlic Glove
  • Parsley
  • Crusted Bread

What You Do

Finely chop the garlic and the parsley. Add white wine to a pan and add the garlic. Bouchot mussels don’t release much liquid when you cook them, so use a little more wine than you would do with regular mussels. Leave for 10 minutes. Clean the mussels. Cook the mussels as quickly as you can, lid on the pan, until they are open. Add the parsley and combine. Serve immediately on a hot (soup) plate.

Partridge with Sauerkraut and Parsley Root

Partridge is perhaps the most delicate of game birds. Tasty, aromatic, mild. It is also one of the most vulnerable birds, given it is under threat from loss of habitat. Especially the grey partridge is becoming scarce. They are also expensive (we paid 10 euro per partridge) and the best part of the season (September-November) is relatively short, so don’t wait too long if you want to enjoy partridge once a year, like we do.

The meat of a partridge is lean and tends to become very dry when preparing it. So what to do? Of course! Put a strip of bacon on each breast and transfer the partridge to a hot oven.
Not really. The bacon will impact the delicate taste of the partridge. And placing such a small, lean bird in a hot oven is a massive risk. Just a few minutes too long (simply because something else you are preparing takes a bit longer) and the meat is bone dry. Stuffing the partridge doesn’t help either; the filling will be moist, but the meat will be dry anyway.

The key to an excellent partridge is to be brave enough to use an oven on a really low temperature, meaning on the temperature the meat should have when it’s served, which is 70 °Celsius or 160 °Fahrenheit.  Dutch chef Peter Lute presents this method in two highly recommended videos.

Partridge combines very well with a range of vegetables and herbs. You could celebrate the end of summer by enjoying your partridge with a thyme-courgette cake. Easy to make and full of flavours. This year we decided to combine our annual partridge with Sauerkraut (Elzas-style) and Parsley Root Puree. 

Wine Pairing

We enjoyed our Partridge with a glass of Riesling, produced by Markus Molitor. A classic Moselle Riesling from Germany. Clear mineral aromas, also fruit, herbal, delicate and pure. Excellent with the flavors of the partridge and the sauerkraut.
In general you’re looking for an aromatic white wine, with perhaps a touch of sweetness.

What You Need

  • For the Partridge
    • Two Partridges
    • Two Garlic Cloves
    • Bay Leaf
    • Butter
    • Olive Oil
  • For the Sauerkraut
    • 250 grams of Sauerkraut
    • 50 grams of Bacon
    • One small Shallot
    • Bay leaf
    • Caraway (cumin)
    • Pink (or Red) Peppercorns
    • Juniper Berries
    • White wine
    • Butter
    • Olive Oil
  • For the Parsley Root Puree
    • Parsley Root
    • Cream
    • White Pepper
    • Nutmeg

What You Do

Start with preparing the sauerkraut. Slice the bacon and chop the shallot. Fry the bacon in some butter in a small iron skillet. After a few minutes add the shallot. Mix sauerkraut, pink peppercorns, crushed juniper berries, crushed caraway, white wine and a splash of olive oil. Add the sauerkraut to the skillet, add bay leaf, some butter, cover with foil and transfer to the oven (110° Celsius or 230° Fahrenheit). Leave in the oven for 4-6 hours. Check the sauerkraut every hour, mix and add water if needed.

A very helpful instruction (in Dutch) how to prepare partridge is presented and demonstrated by Peter Lute in two excellent videos. Please watch them and see how it should be done.
In summary: prepare the partridge by carefully cutting of the two legs and removing the lower part of the back of the bird (the tail bone area). Warm a heavy iron pan and add butter. Coat the birds with butter, making sure they have a very light brown colour. Transfer the pan to a warm oven: 70° Celsius or 160° Fahrenheit. Leave in the oven for 50-60 minutes. Since the oven is on the ideal temperature for the meat, it doesn’t really matter if you leave them in the oven longer. Set aside.

Peel the parsley root, chop and put in a pan with water and bring to a boil. When the parsley root is halfway, remove the water and add cream. Let cook on low heat until tender. Use a blender to create a puree. Add white pepper and nutmeg.

Add a touch of olive oil to a non-stick pan, and quickly brown the meat, skin side only. Just before serving separate the tenderloin from the breast and remove the fleece before serving the breasts. If all is well you will see a beautiful pink colour, indicating your cuisson is perfect and your partridge as tasty and delicate as possible.

Partridge with Sauerkraut and Parsley Root ©cadwu
Partridge with Sauerkraut and Parsley Root ©cadwu

Weever

Fish and Chips, such a tasty combination, especially when the fish is fried with beer-based batter and served with triple-cooked chips, mushy peas and tartare sauce. Commonly it is made with cod or haddock. We prefer haddock because of its flavour and more importantly its texture. Both haddock and cod are expensive and in these days of high inflation we are keen to find a cheap alternative.

That’s why we recently tried this dish with weever, also known as Pieterman in Dutch and Vive in French. We were not disappointed, not at all. Excellent texture, taste a bit stronger compared to haddock but nevertheless yummy.
Weever is actually a really interesting fish. Weevers hide in the sand, waiting for prey. Their defence is based on a poisonous dorsal fin which makes it very painful when you step on it or want to get gold of them. Therefore it is unpopular with anglers, making it bycatch. And because of that, weever is not expensive. Great combination: save money and enjoy delicious food!

Drink Pairing

A nice, cold beer will go very well with this dish. Wine wise the choice is yours: unoaked Chardonnay, Semillon, dry Riesling, Rueda, Chenin Blanc or Picpoul de Pinet. The wine must be fresh, a touch citrussy and have balanced acidity.

What You Need

  • For the Haddock, Cod or Weever
    • Boneless Fillet
    • All Purpose Flour
    • Breadcrumbs (see below)
    • Egg
    • Butter
    • Olive Oil
    • Black Pepper
  • For the Pickled Radish
    • Red Radishes
    • Shallot
    • White Wine Vinegar
    • Sugar
  • Mayonnaise

What You Do – Pickled Radish

Take a cup of white wine vinegar, add it to a bowl, add sugar, perhaps some water (depending on the acidity of the vinegar), mix very well and taste. The mixture should be both sweet and sour. Slice the radishes and the shallot. Add to the mixture, stir and leave in the refrigerator for a few hours. Over time the colours will blend. The vegetables will keep well for a few days.
Feel free to use the same approach with other (firm) small vegetables. 

What You Do – Haddock, Cod or Weever

Pat the fillet dry with kitchen paper. Check if there are really no bones. Take three plates, one with flour, one with beaten egg, one with breadcrumbs. Coat the fillet with flour, then dip it into the egg mixture and finally coat with the crumbs. Fry in hot butter (with olive oil) until lovely golden brown. Serve immediately on a warm plate.

What You Do – Breadcrumbs

Also known as chapelure. Use old, stale but originally very tasty bread. Obviously, we use our home-made bread.
Toast the bread and let cool. Cut in smaller bits and then use a cutter or blender to make the crumbs. They keep very well in the freezer, so best to make in advance, when you have some left over bread.

The Art of Sauces: Cameline

Welcome to the Middle Ages, welcome to the world of bread sauces and strong flavours. Already in the thirteenth century Sauce Cameline was very popular and in the fourteenth century it could be bought ready-made from vendors. It was used as accompaniment with fish, wild boar, chicken and it was served warm or cold.

Different from béchamel, velouté, Hollandaise or other modern sauces, a bread sauce has a very specific structure. In the United Kingdom a bread sauce with milk, onion, cloves, bay leaf and peppercorns is served with turkey as part of the traditional Christmas dinner.

Recipes for Sauce Cameline are included in several books, for instance in Two Fifteenth Century Cookery by Faulke Watling and Thomas Austin, 1888 and in The Viandier of Taillevent: An Edition of All Extant Manuscripts by Terrence Scully, 1988. Both books are available via the well-known channels.

The Viandier of Taillevent is very much a historical research into the origin of 5 manuscripts with recipes, all ranging from probably the same source, but all different. The oldest is from the second half on the thirteenth century. Taillevent, also known as Guillaume Tirel (ca. 1310 – 1395), was cook to the court of France (Charles V and many others). As the dates suggest it’s not very likely that he is the author of the oldest version of the recipes but on the other hand no other name is mentioned.

Terence Scully explains in wonderful detail the background of the manuscripts and the recipes. He also includes a modern version of 220 recipes, based on his historical and culinary interpretation of all manuscripts. A very impressive book.
The Viandier of Taillevent is also the inspiration for many other historical cookbooks.

There is no original recipe for Sauce Cameline. Our impression is that it must contain vinegar, bread, cinnamon, cloves, grains of paradise, mace and ginger. 

Food Pairing

We would suggest pairing it with chicken. Depending on your choice of ingredients you could combine it with pork or wild boar. We enjoyed Sauce Cameline with small chicken roulades, stuffed with chopped raisins and rosemary.

What You Need

  • Old White Bread
  • Red Wine Vinegar
  • Cinnamon Powder
  • Ginger Powder
  • Mace
  • Clove
  • Grains of Paradise
  • Optional
    • Nutmeg
    • Raisins
    • Almonds
    • Black Pepper
    • Salt 

What You Do

Soak the bread in red wine vinegar (and water). In a mortar combine cinnamon, ginger and other spices. When using raisins, make sure to soak them.
The first option is to strain the bread and then combine it with the mixture.
We didn’t think that worked very well, so we drained the bread, added the mixture to the liquid and added some of the bread. We used a blender to create a sauce. We added a bit more bread and cinnamon to make it tastier and thicker.
The third option is to cook and reduce the mixture. According to the Viandier it should be a cold sauce, but others claim a warm sauce was served during winter.
Regardless the way you prepare it, keep in mind it should be a fairly acidic sauce with a dominant cinnamon taste.

PS

Grains of Paradise? New to me!
The grains are common to the North and West African cuisine. They were brought to Europe in the thirteenth century.
The taste is supposed to be hot, peppery and fruity. Unfortunately, we couldn’t find them and we didn’t feel the need to order the grains online. We substituted them with freshly grounded black pepper. The other flavours were sufficiently intense!

Saffron Milk Cap with Squid and Tomatoes

It’s nearly the end of the season for this delicious mushroom. And what better idea than to close the season with a new recipe! Normally we would combine Saffron Milk Cap with Chorizo and roasted Bell Pepper. Thinking more about Spain and its markets (the one in Valencia is our all-time favourite) we came up with the idea of combining the mushroom with fish? Or gambas? Or perhaps squid?

Wine Pairing

We opened a bottle of Domaine Font-Mars Picpoul de Pinet 2021. Picpoul de Pinet (Son terroir c’est la mer) is a white wine from the South of France between Narbonne and Montpellier. The terroir (think calcareous soil) is influenced by the sea, which is reflected in the mineral taste of the wine. The story is that Picpoul could be read as pique poul which translates into something like ‘stings the lip’; a nice reflection of the high acidity of the grapes. This acidity guarantees a refreshing white wine, which is exceptional given the warm climate. The wine is bright yellow with a very subtle touch of green. It’s aromatic, floral and fruity. The taste has notes of citrus and apple.
In general we suggest drinking a refreshing, unoaked white wine that goes well with seafood.

What You Need

  • For the Squid
    • 150 grams of Squid
    • 4 Tomatoes
    • One Garlic Clove
    • Red Wine
    • Thyme
    • Olive Oil
  • 150 grams of Saffron Milk Cap
  • Parsley and or Celery Leaves
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Olive Oil

What You Do

The day before serving: clean the squid. Slice (not too thin). Peel, seed and dice the tomatoes, use a strainer to get as much tomato juice as possible. Chop the garlic finely. Heat a skillet, add olive oil and add the sliced squid. Fry for a few minutes, add the garlic and the tomatoes. Reduce the heat. After a few minutes add the tomato juice, half a glass of red wine and thyme. Leave to simmer for 2 hours or until the squid is ready both in flavours and texture. Cool and transfer to the refrigerator.

The next day clean the mushroom and slice (not too thin). Chop the parsley and or celery leaves. Heat a skillet, add olive oil and add the sliced mushroom. Fry for one minute, then reduce heat. Add the squid mixture and cook for a few minutes. Taste and add cayenne pepper. You’re looking for a fairly sharp, spicy taste. Add half of the chopped parsley/celery. After a few minutes serve the mixture and garnish with parsley/celery. The idea is to have a mixture (not a sauce) of squid and mushrooms, coated with tomatoes. 

Matsutake with Garland Chrysanthemum

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
  • Walnut Oil
  • Olive Oil

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.

  • Matsutake with Chrysanthemum ©cadwu
  • Cleaned Matsutake ©cadwu
  • Matsutake on the market ©cadwu