In all honesty, I am tired of that curry lamb dish on the front page of my blog. Chris is traveling and the girls and I are eating simple. So, I post tonight with nothing much new to report, but this quick matsutake mushroom dish. I have never cooked with matsutake mushrooms. I often wondered about them, but never picked up any because they were so expensive. But today, Uwajimaya had a bounty of them, priced differently according to their quality grade. I did a little research as to the grading process. It seems the best of the best are the ones where the caps are still closed and tight to the stem. The gills will not be showing at all. The ones I purchased are close to the top, but not the absolute best, at $19.99 per pound. The NY Times recently published this interesting article about foraging for matsutakes in Oregon. After reading the article, I know why they are now down in my price range. Still, it seems a lot of cost was incurred getting them to the shelves at market.
For my first cooking experience with matsutake mushrooms, I went with the simplest method. Outside of the traditional rice dish, which I was even too lazy to make, I went with this super simple preparation.
¾ pounds matsutake mushrooms
2 tablespoons butter, melted
freshly ground pepper
fleur de sel
To clean the mushrooms, cut off the very end of the stems. Use a mushroom brush, paper towel, or your fingers to brush any dirt off the mushrooms. If needed, rinse gently with water, but do not let the water soak into the underside or gills of the mushrooms.
Heat oven to 450f.
Slice the mushrooms into ¼ inch thick pieces.
Place onto a baking sheet or cast iron skillet.
Drizzle the butter over top.
Sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper and fleur de sel.
Roast the mushrooms until tender, for about 8-12 minutes, stirring once in the process. The mushrooms should still hold their shape and be tender without being limp.
They had a woodsy taste with a hint of cinnamon, very distinct in flavor. Definitely robust enough to hold other flavors. Next time I will try them with a little soy, mirin and sake, on the grill perhaps.