For a unique flavor, you can try Pine Mushrooms also known as Matsutake Mushrooms. This dense white or brown meaty mushroom has a thick cotton like partial veil. Its surface is smooth and dry, the stem is short and wide. With age, the cap and stem can develop a rusty color where it has been bruised. But it is often the odor that identifies Pine Mushrooms. It has a very spicy and clean taste, like no other mushroom. Japanese chefs value this delicacy, and the way that they prepare it reveals how you can bring out its strong fragrance and individual flavor.
Matsutake means "Pine Mushrooms." They grow most abundantly along the coast of Washington state, where there is enough found to permit commercial exportation for sale in Asian marketplaces at high prices. They can also be found in Canada, Oregon, Idaho, and Northern California. They were formerly known as Armillaria Ponderosa.
Pine Mushrooms Are Perfect For Cooking
In Japan, other types of Pine Mushrooms called Armillaria matsutake, are collected wild and sold for high prices in marketplaces, where they are beautifully arranged for sale in plastic-covered containers and decorated with green leaves. It does not look like typical Pine Mushrooms. The cap is dark brown, scaled, and bell-shaped. They perch atop a massive round stem that resembles the cut section of a ripe sugar-cane stalk. The few people I've met who have tried them say their taste resembles Pine Mushrooms, and they are both are prepared in the same way.
In Japan and Okinawa, Pine Mushrooms are threatened with extinction. The pine forests which are needed for their growth are being destroyed by nematodes which attack the root hairs of the trees. Studies are being thoroughly conducted to determine how to control this infestation.
When shopping for Pine Mushrooms, select firm intact mushrooms that are in prime condition. They should have a decidedly spicy odor, and a somewhat rusty coloration.