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Perfumed Matsutake Rice

From Urban Forager: Matsu=Pine, Take=Mushroom by Anthony Tassinello

3 cups Japanese rice
3 cups water
2 or 3 small “number one” matsutake
1 abura-age – fried tofu (optional)
¼ cup sake
¼ cup soy sauce

Begin by washing the rice in several changes of cold water, repeating the process until the water becomes clear. Drain the rice thoroughly. Add rice and water to rice cooker and let stand for 30 minutes. In the meantime clean the mushrooms of all loose dirt using a firm brush or paring knife. You may peel back a bit of the thin outer layer if overly dirty. Using the large holes of a box grater, shred the mushrooms lengthwise into long strands. Alternatively, if using your hands, pull apart into small rough pieces of the same size. If using the optional fried tofu, cut into strips. Add the mushrooms, tofu, sake and soy sauce to the rice cooker, cover and follow manufacturer’s instructions for cooking.

Serves 6 as part of a larger meal

Resist the urge to treat matsutake in a western style cooking fashion (i.e., sautéing or frying in fat) as the essence of the mushroom will be lost and will result in a bland, tough dish. However, grilling is a wonderful way to enjoy matsutake, brushed lightly with soy sauce and allowed to caramelize slightly.

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