Foil-Wrapped Matsutake with White Soy and Ginger
All fired up to mushroom hunt as always, Todd Humphries of Kitchen Door in Napa, California, correctly guessed that we’d nab matsutake on one particular chefs’ foray. He had packed white soy sauce, a terrific ingredient many of us had never seen before. With a handful of other ingredients and a roll of aluminum foil, he made these delightful surprise packages. Like kids, we watched them puff up like Jiffy Pop. Lean forward, cut your packet open, and inhale as the perfectly preserved perfume of the matsutake curls right up to your nose..
Serves 4 to 8
- 3 tablespoons white soy sauce or 2 tablespoons soy sauce plus 1 tablespoon water
- 2 tablespoons sake
- 3 tablespoons mirin
- ¾ teaspoon freshly grated ginger
- 1 green onion, white and pale green parts only, finely minced
- ½ teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon vegetable or peanut oil, plus more to brush packets
- 1 pound matsutake mushrooms, cleaned
- Whisk together the white soy sauce, sake, mirin, ginger, green onion, lemon juice, and oil in a medium bowl.
- Slice the mushrooms lengthwise into ¼-inch slices. Lay out four to six 12-inch square pieces of aluminum foil on a flat surface. Brush the surface of the foil with oil. Divide the mushrooms among the foil squares, fanning the slices slightly in the center of each square. Brush the soy mixture over the mushrooms, enough to coat them generously. Fold in the sides of each packet, then fold the opposite sides together, rolling or tucking in the edges so that the mushrooms are snugly enclosed and the liquid won’t leak onto the grill.
- Prepare a grill to medium heat.
- Place the aluminum foil packets over the heat, fold side up, and cook until they are fragrant and sizzling inside, about 8 minutes. Check inside a packet at this point to make sure the mushrooms are tender. Continue cooking for 1 to 2 more minutes, if needed.
- Remove from the grill and let sit for 1 to 2 minutes before serving.
- Serve the foil packet directly on a plate. Opening the foil packet releases all the precious matsutake perfume.
Tips and Techniques
Save any extra marinade to brush on after cooking or drizzle over noodle or rice.
The packets can also be cooked in the oven. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Place the foil packets on a baking sheet and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, or until fragrant and sizzling. They also cook wonderfully on top of a wood stove.
Substitutions and Variations
Shiitake, king oyster, or oyster mushrooms are the best substitutes for the matsutake, but others, like cremini, will also work well. Cut off the stem and clean the gills before slicing.