Saturday, November 15, 2008

Matsutake Gohan

The pineapple express that flooded local rivers this past week also extended a mushroom season that looked just about kaput. I was surprised to find a good fruiting of matsutake in the Olympic lowlands in addition to some passable chanties and a single porcino. Actually, I can't say precisely whether the recent balmy/rainy weather is strictly of Hawaiian origin (we need Cliff Mass for that), but I can say that the matsutake were number 1 buttons, worm-free, and retailing at Uwajimaya for the bargain price of $35 a pound. For a moment I even considered selling my stash, but then I came to my senses.

I had a few pounds, so I made another sukiyaki and used the rest for Gohan. This is an exceptionally spare recipe that shows off the unique aroma of the matsutake ("red hots and dirty socks," as they say) and is mostly executed by the rice cooker.

2 1/2 cups Japanese short-grain rice, thoroughly washed
2 1/2 cups water
1-2 matsutake mushrooms, sliced or shredded
1/3 cup carrot, diced
4 tbsp sake
4 tbsp soy sauce

Put rice and water in cooker and set aside for 30 minutes. Add matsutake, carrots, sake, and soy sauce, and turn on rice cooker. When rice is cooked, mix up ingredients and empty into a bowl. Cover and let sit 10 minutes before serving.


Anonymous said...

I love the simplicity of the preparation -- any other mushrooms that could be subbed in?

Anonymous said...

My kind of cooking. I'll try this if Uwajimaya still has them around, or, as Audrey wonders, with another mushroom.

Langdon Cook said...

Hi Audrey & Sally:
I would recommend sticking with matsutake for this recipe. The unique aroma and flavor of the mushroom are what makes the dish, simple as it is. One thing I've noticed, however, is that the matsutake I've picked recently haven't been quite as fragrant as those picked at the height of the season in October; not sure whether that's normal or not. Try Uwajimaya. Even though these Japanese delicacies command a high price per pound, you don't need a lot--and you'll know right away whether or not you're a fan of this distinctive 'shroom!

Alissa said...

I prefer to use burdock root or gobo instead of carrot. It can be harvested or purchased locally and adds a clean subtle flavor to matsutake gohan, while absorbing the fragrant essence of the mushroom. I look forward to this meal all year :)