While recently shopping at my neighborhood farmers market in Seattle, I noticed a selection of unusual, edible mushrooms at Jeremy Faber’s stand, Foraged and Found Edibles. Lined up on his table were boxes of grey morels, reddish-orange lobsters and different varieties of chanterelles, tempting the shoppers waiting in line to buy them.
I’ve never been adventurous with fungi, always sticking to the safe and flavorless “button” variety. Curious, I asked Jeremy what would be good for a novice to try. He suggested the “Golden” chanterelle, known for its pleasant fruity scent, fluted shape and distinctive yellow color. Sought-after by chefs for their delicate flavor and meaty texture, these chanterelles are harvested from forests in late summer and fall. Culinary experts recommend cooking them, instead of eating raw, to release their subtle flavor.
There are a myriad of recipes online, which can be overwhelming to a newbie, so I asked Jeremy for advice on how to select, prep and cook them. I figured he’d be a qualified source since he supplies wild-harvested mushrooms to select Seattle-area restaurants and has also worked as a chef. “The chanterelle is definitely a butter mushroom,” he said. For cooking, Jeremy recommends sautéing them in brown butter and pairing them with green beans, corn, game birds, potatoes or shallots. “[Choose] small buttons for pickling, quick sautéing or salads, such as a warm green bean salad,” he suggested. “Larger ones are great for pizza or tearing apart and putting under a roasted game bird. What to drink with them would depend on the dish, but most likely a crisp white wine.”
Tempted by the possibilities, I took home a small bag of chanterelles from Jeremy’s stand and sautéed them with butter and shallots. I then stuffed them into an omelet and spooned over a delicate white wine and cream sauce. They were so delicious that I’m now a fan. Next time, I’ll buy more and try them in a risotto or maybe even a wild rice soup.
Tips for using chanterelles:
Selecting: Select mushrooms that are dry and look freshly picked; they should not have dark, decaying parts and should have a fresh aroma.
Preparing: Before washing, gently tap dirt off with a vegetable brush. Wash them by sloshing around in a bowl of water, then air dry completely before cooking.
Storing: Chanterelles can be stored in a paper bag for up to seven days in the veggie compartment of the refrigerator.
Cooking: They can toughen when overcooked so add them to a recipe at the end of the cooking time.