Matsutake mushrooms are in season again. Wild mushroom aficionados look forward to the arrival of the esteemed pine mushroom with great anticipation each year. Matsutake can be prepared in any number of traditional ways, but it’s always a pleasant challenge to create new dishes that highlight their woodsy flavor.
Matsutake have an intriguingly spicy aroma akin to a blend of pine, cinnamon and rosemary. Their texture is quite firm and holds up well to just about any cooking method. We particularly like them grilled over a hot fire, a process which concentrates and intensifies their natural flavor.
In Japan, where matsutake are especially revered, it’s not uncommon to find them featured in light seafood-based soups, a tradition which served as an inspiration for this earthy miso soup, made with freshly cooked crab and a broth made from the crab shells. When we recently found ourselves in possession of an abundance of fresh crabs and just-foraged matsutake mushrooms, this dish was the natural outcome. Though rich in flavor, the combination of ingredients achieve a balance that allows each one to shine through without obscuring the others.
If you don’t have access to fresh crab, frozen crab meat or claws can be used with excellent results. If you’re not a fan of crab, try this dish with shrimp, scallops or clams instead.
Miso Broth with Crab and Grilled Matsutake Mushrooms
We used homemade crab stock to make our soup, but if you don’t have access to fresh crabs (or don’t have the time), it’s fine to substitute any light broth, such as dashi (Japanese bonito stock), chicken, mushroom or vegetable stock. Once you’ve assembled your ingredients and done some basic prep, this refreshing, low-calorie soup comes together in just minutes.
- 1 quart stock (crab, dashi, shellfish or fish, chicken, vegetable)
- 4 – 8 oz cooked crab claws and/or crab meat (substitute cooked shrimp, clams or scallops)
- 2 Tbsp red miso paste, or to taste
- 2 – 3 small matsutake mushrooms
- 2 Tbsp mirin
- 2 Tbsp soy sauce
- 1/4 lb tofu, cut into 3/4 inch cubes
- Small bunch of chives, cut on diagonal into 1-inch pieces
- 10 – 12 snow pea pods, blanched & chilled
- 1 cup edible chrysanthemum leaves or other tender greens (optional)
Gently clean the matsutake mushrooms with a brush. If especially dirty, rinse quickly with cold water and pat dry. Slice into 1/4 inch thick slices. Place in a large, flat container and toss with the mirin and soy sauce. Set aside to marinate.
Prepare a gas or charcoal grill and heat to 350 degrees. (If you prefer, lightly grease a grill pan and heat to medium high on the stovetop.) Drain the matsutake slices and carefully arrange them on the grill, turning to make attractive grill marks on each side. Cook for approximately 5 – 6 minutes total. Remove to a plate and set aside.
Add the stock to a heavy pot and bring to a low boil. Reduce to a simmer and stir in the miso paste. Add the tofu cubes and turn off the heat.
Add a few chrysanthemum leaves to each bowl, if using, and ladle the miso broth and tofu over the top. Add one crab claw and a mound of crab meat (or shrimp or scallops), snow peas and grilled matsutake slices. Sprinkle with the cut chives and serve.
Many of the ingredients used in this recipe, and other recipes on the Earthy Delights Blog, can be purchased online at our retail website, Earthy.com. We welcome you to visit the Earthy.com website to view our extensive selection of hard-to-find ingredients and our complete Recipe Collection of over 500 tested recipes.
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