The Yomiuri ShimbunAutumn is the best season for mushrooms, and maitake is an excellent choice for flavor and aroma. Chef Yumiko Izawa introduces three recipes that bring out the best in this autumnal treat.
Dried maitake miso soup
Roughly break a batch of maitake into stems and spread them out in a shallow bamboo basket. Leave out in the sun in an airy place for half a day to one day.
“This step will enriche the mushrooms’ umami and also help give them a fibrous texture,” Izawa says.
Grill the maitake for two to four minutes in a fish grill or toaster oven until the aroma comes out and they are slightly charred.
Heat dashi soup stock and dissolve miso paste into it. Place the maitake in a soup bowl and pour the miso soup over the grilled mushrooms.
The miso soup should be thinner to bring out the maitake’s sweetness and flavor. As the soup is not simmered with the maitake in it, the fibrous texture remains intact. Sprinkle chopped negi leek or add tofu according to taste.
Steamed pork with yuzu
Maitake is full of enzymes that break up proteins, so it tenderizes meat. Tender pork is a feature of this recipe.
Wash yuzu citrus and cut into 5-millimeter slices. Put two slices and two pinches of salt into a plastic bag and rub well to make yuzu-flavored salt.
Score the pork slices and season all over with pinches of salt, pepper and ½ teaspoon soy sauce, then dust the pork with potato starch. Coating the meat makes it smooth and matches the texture of the maitake.
Put 1 tablespoon of olive oil into a frying pan and cook both sides of the pork for five to seven minutes in total over low to medium heat. Remove from the frying pan.
Wipe the oil from the pan and put in the maitake roughly broken into pieces. Sprinkle a pinch of salt, then add yuzu-flavored salt (including yuzu peel) and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Cover the pan and steam for three to four minutes over medium heat. Put the pork back in, cover again and cook for another three minutes over a medium heat. Serve on a plate, and season with a pinch of pepper.
Yuzu goes well with mushrooms, as it adds a refreshing flavor while bringing out the aroma. Maitake goes extremely well with pork, but chicken, cod and salmon would also make good combinations.
This recipe can be prepared ahead of time.
Remove seeds from a red chili pepper and cut into thin slices. If the mushrooms have scales at the base, remove them, then break them into small pieces. Put in a pot with the red chili pepper, thinly sliced ginger and 3 tablespoons each of sake, soy sauce and mirin. Simmer for eight to 10 minutes on a low heat until the liquid evaporates and the mushrooms soften.
The umami-rich mushrooms can be poured over noodles, cooked together with rice in a rice cooker, or used as an ingredient in an omelet. The uses are limitless.
Dried maitake miso soup (serves 2)
Dried maitake mushrooms
2 cups dashi stock
1 to 2 tbsp miso paste
Steamed pork and maitake seasoned with yuzu
1 to 2 packs maitake mushrooms
3 tbsp olive oil
2 pork loin slices (sold for cutlet use)
Moderate amount of potato starch
2 packs maitake mushrooms (400 to 500 grams)
1 pack enoki mushrooms (200 grams)
1 pack nameko mushrooms (100 grams)
½ knob ginger
½ red chili pepper
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