Matsutake (Japanese: pine mushroom) is the common name for a highly sought after mycorrhizal mushroom that grows in Asia, Europe, and North America. It is prized by the Japanese for its distinct spicy-aromatic odor.
Matsutake grow under trees and are usually concealed under fallen leaves and duff on the forest floor. It forms a symbiotic relationship with the roots of a limited number of tree species.
Matsutake are known to grow in China, Japan, Korea, Finland, Sweden, among other countries. In Japan it is most commonly associated with Japanese Red Pine. However in the North American Pacific Northwest it is found in coniferous forests made up of one or more of the following species: Douglas-fir, Noble Fir, Shasta Red Fir, Sugar Pine, Ponderosa Pine or Lodgepole Pine. That type of Matsutake is typically called White Matsutake (Tricholoma magnivelare) as it doesn't feature the brown coloration of the Asian specimen. In California and parts of Oregon, it is also associated with hardwoods, including Tanoak, Madrone, Rhododendron, Salal, and Manzanita.
Matsutake are hard to find (though simple to harvest) and therefore the price is very high. Domestic production of matsutake in Japan has been sharply reduced over the last 50 years due to a pine nematode Bursaphelenchus xylophilus, and it has influenced the price a great deal. The annual harvest of matsutake in Japan is now less than 1,000 tons, and the Japanese mushroom supply is largely made up by imports from China, Korea, the North American Pacific Northwest (Northern California, Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia), and Northern Europe (Sweden and Finland).The price for matsutake in the Japanese market is highly dependent on quality, availability, and origin.
These marinated mushrooms are cooked on skewers and served with dipping sauce. They go nicely with broiled or grilled meats.
Preparation Time: 30 Minutes
Cooking Time: 6 Minutes
- 1/4 cup (50 mL) light soy sauce
- 2 tbsp (25 mL) lemon juice
- 1 tbsp (15 mL) Ontario Honey
- 1 clove Ontario Garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp (2 mL) crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 lb (500 g) Ontario White Mushrooms
- 1 small Ontario Onion, cut in wedges
- 2 tbsp (25 mL) peanut butter
In shallow nonmetallic bowl, combine soy sauce, lemon juice, honey, garlic and pepper flakes. Stir in mushrooms and onion. Let stand for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Thread alternately onto skewers, reserving marinade. Broil or grill for 3 minutes on each side or until browned. Meanwhile, pour marinade into small saucepan; stir in peanut butter. Bring to boil. (Add 1 to 2 tbsp/15 to 25 mL water to provide dipping consistency, if necessary.) Serve with mushrooms.