So for this past Tuesday, my wife and I were trying to come up with a quick simple dinner. We settled on flaked salmon fried rice with spinach and corn. Yet, there was something lacking. After some thought, we scoured Nobu’s Vegetarian Cookbook and decided on his Oven-Roasted Portobello With Wasabi Salsa (p. 84). Unfortunately, while we had nice big meaty himematsutake (they were in a dried state ad had to be re-hydrated), we didn’t have the wasabi stalks for the salsa.
The recipe was pretty doable and scaled up for 2 portions –
2 large portobello/himematsutake, stems/gills removed
ground black pepper
8 slices of garlic
8 t olive oil
1 t lemon juice
1 t soy sauce
a little sake
(8 tsp wasabi salsa)
For the salt/pepper, I would season the prepared mushrooms with 3 3-fingered pinches of the 4:1 salt/pepper mix.
So I placed the dried mushrooms into warm water to soak while I went to work with a plate to hold them down in the water. When I got back, I got them out of the water, used a paring knife to remove the stems and to carefully cut out the gills (had they been fresh, I would’ve used a spoon to scoop them out). Once that was all done, I followed the instructions to quarter the mushroom caps. I then sprinkled the quartered caps with the salt/pepper mix on all over and then sprinkled a few teaspoons of sake over them. Transferring the quartered
mushrooms on to a foil-lined tray, I popped them into a 425 (the book says 430) degree preheated oven for about 10 minutes to roast.
While the mushrooms were roasting, I mixed up the soy and lemon juice. Taking to cleaned/trimmed garlic
cloves, I sliced the garlic up into 8 pieces as thin as I could. I then measured out the 8 teaspoons of olive oil. Looking at the recipe, I realized that Matsuhisa-sama was going to be making fresh garlic olive oil with the soy and lemon juice. So I needed to use a non-stick pan at room temperature to start the olive oil and garlic. Generally speaking, you want to make sure you have a hot pan before you add oil to cook food in it so that the food won’t stick. Here, it was a slightly different situation.
Once the mushrooms were done, I began making the garlic olive oil on medium and waited until I could smell
the combined garlic and olive oil. Once I could clearly smell the aroma, I quickly added a little more black peppers, the soy sauce/lemon juice
mix, stirred it a little bit and transferred the hot mushrooms to combine everything and coat the roasted
mushrooms in the pan sauce liquid. I cooked them in the pan sauce for a minute or two and them got into
a small serving plate and put each slice of garlic on top of each quarter.
Indeed the dish was, as Nobu commented, bite for bite able to rival grilled meat. The original description of the dish called for wasabi salsa; I agree, a nice Nobu salsa would definitely help contrast the roasted mushroom for the palate. While the recipe called for portobellos, I could also see big meaty shiitakes being used here as well. My wife definitely enjoyed this offering and I think I should consider this as a candidate for one of the holiday omakase courses later on this year.