from the depth of the pine forest,
the voice of the hawk.
I LOVE 松茸
Otherwise known as “pine mushrooms,” matsutake is one of the most expensive food items in the world — we’re talking $200 for six small mushrooms! *faints*
Basically, matsutake are the truffles of Japan. They are infuriating to find because once plucked, they never grow in the same place twice. It’s a seasonal item, so when autumn arrives you have to forage deep in the forest and search in the damp, moist earth near the roots of red pine trees (ideally)…and search, and search, and search, which is why matsutake are so expensive.
And, thankfully, you can’t really farm them either so matsutake remain local, wild, woody, rich, nutty, perfumed and creamy when cooked and therefore highly prized.
And, they are beautiful — creamy white with hints of sepia and, oh, that fragrance! Oh.my.god. *Bliss*
AUTUMN FAMILY DINNERS
My dad has an inside connection to getting a matsutake stash every autumn. I still don’t know who he knows. But I do know that the soil of the Pacific Northwest (where we live) is an ideal environment for matsutake to thrive deep in this temperate rainforest. Whatever papa’s hookup, I’m just grateful and delighted to taste its creamy, perfumed woodiness.
My dad prepares matsutake three ways for family dinners:
1) Sliced matsutake pan-fried in butter and a tiny bit of shoyu (Japanese soy sauce). This is a bit of a blasphemy for some true enthusiasts but it tastes delicious.
2) Matsutake-gohan (pine mushroom rice). Like this here.
3) Matsutake dobin mushi (pine mushroom clear broth). Like this here.
And lucky me, I had all three this past Sunday for family dinner at my parents’ place. Amazing as usual. *swoon*