Sunday, October 17, 2010

Donabe Steamed Tofu and Matsutake Mushrooms

Matsutake is in season now!

Matsutake is a highly seasonal mushroom (autumn), and in Japan, the domestic matsutake is considered to be the most highly-regarded and most expensive among all the mushrooms. The high price (could go up to about $1,000/ per pound) is due to the very limited harvest. But the Japanese domestic matsutake has the amazing aroma, and we enjoy it in simple forms of cooking (grill, add to the soup, cook with the rice, with the very light seasoning) to best enjoy the full "matsutake" aroma.

In recent years, we've seen more and more imported matsutake in Japan, and they are so much cheaper, although you can't expect as high quality as the domestic kind. In any case, living in Los Angeles, I was very happy when I found American "domestic" matsutake at Nijiya Market the other day. And, it was so cheap! There were 4 medium-size pieces for only $6!

So, I didn't have a very high expectation, but I thought I can give a try.

I sliced the matsutake (after wiping the surface with damp paper towel - never rinse matsutake in water) and steamed with soft tofu (from Meiji Tofu) in our donabe steamer, Mushi Nabe. After about 5 minutes, I could smell the wonderful aroma coming out of the donabe. It was a good sign.

We did the steaming table top, and once cooked, we served the matsutake and tofu into plates with the black sesame sauce and minced scallion. Wow, the American matsutake was so surprisingly wonderful!! I was so impressed. Simple steamed matsutake, tofu, and black sesame sauce...what a wonderful combination. This has become one of my favorite donabe steamed dishes of all time. I got to go back to Nijiya to buy more matsutake!

Happy donabe life.