This is seriously one of the most divine meals I’ve ever made. It was SO GOOD. I decided to go for a Japanese themed feast to feature my gorgeous matsutake that I found in Oregon. I made matsutake infused rice, black pepper tofu (admittedly more Chinese than Japanese), and cucumber with smashed ginger salad served with sake and finished off with green tea mochi ice cream. OMG It was good. You are going to enjoy this post I am sure of it!
First I started off with these gorgeous giant Matsutakes that I foraged in Oregon on the coast, and miraculously they were completely clean and no bugs!
How pretty are these mushrooms?!
I am not super familiar with cooking Matsutakes so this time I turned to a pro for some advice and re-produced the recipe from expert forager Hank’s honest food blog and made delicious matsutake infused rice. The recipe was super simple, just chop up the matsutake and mix it with 2 tbsp sake, 2 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tbsp mirin, 1 tsp salt, and 2 cups short grain rice and put it in your rice cooker. We decided to make this recipe vegetarian so instead of adding dashi (which you should use if you want to go super authentic) we used vegetable broth and added it to the rice and mushrooms in the rice cooker until everything was covered. Then we turned on the rice cooker. Super simple! While the rice was cooking, we focused on making the tofu and cucumber ginger salad.
Matsutakes can taste a bit like foot (full disclosure) if not fully properly cooked, so we took some matsutakes off the top of the rice dish that were not fully cooked and fried them in vegetable oil to make sure they were nice and browned. We added the fried mushrooms back on top of the rice and added chopped chives to the top for a pop of color and flavor. OMG doesn’t it look so yummy??
While the rice dish was cooking, I got started on the cucumber dish. It was a recipe from my number one fave Yotam Ottolenghi in his all vegetarian cook book Plenty. Mix together the dressing of 3 tbsp rice wine vinegar, 2 tsp white sugar, 2 tbsp sunflower oil, and 2 tsp sunflower oil. Pour that over a sliced red onion and let it marinate for a while. In the meanwhile, smash together some ginger with 1 tsp coarse salt.
I do not have a mortar and pestle so this was a bit tricky for me. I did the best I could with the back of a wooden spoon and my bowl. Mix together the “smashed” ginger and salt with the onion and dressing. Then slice up the cumber and add it to the mix.
Let the cucumbers and onions marinate in the dressing while you cook the other dish. At the end garnish with cilantro and toasted sesame seeds. This dish was super refreshing and ended up being the perfect complement to the rice and spicy tofu dishes.