Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Chanterelles


Before I hurl myself completely into 2007, let me share one last bit of 2006 magic. I know, I know...I should have shared this little miracle when it happened, but other posts pushed their way past, and this was left in my “archives”. Coming upon it now, I still feel the mixture of joy and disbelief I first felt when I saw them...all cozy and earthy in their basket, propped up in the produce section of Santis Rockwell (a specialty food store that gladly takes my hard earned money). I grabbed the nearest salesperson, “Are th-th-those chanterelles?” She smiled and nodded.

You must understand, I love mushrooms. I buy them every chance I get. I can eat them everyday, in spite of dire warnings from yogis that “things grown in dark places” are not good for the chakras (or whatever it is yogis look after). I remember with longing the markets in Helsinki and Amsterdam…crates of wild mushrooms that looked like they had been only minutes from the forest….a burly purveyor in an old cap, a little dirt still on his hands, helping me pick out that night’s dinner.

Here in my sunny islands, you can get fresh mushrooms. Button is available, along with Asian mushrooms like shiitake, oyster, and enoki. More and more interesting finds are available in our markets. You may also find portabellos, but they will cost you. But wild mushrooms like chanterelles, morels, porcini, and trompettes des morts are only available dried…and not cheap either! Now, the mushrooms readily available in our local markets are absolutely delicious, and I do explore these guys extensively, but I miss those wild mushrooms.

So, you can imagine my delight when I saw these chanterelles. Never mind that they probably went on a long journey to get here and the forest was already just a sweet memory for them. Never mind that they came with a hefty price tag (just under P1500/kilo). They were fresh (not dried) and they were here! I eagerly picked out a small portion and rushed back home to peruse recipes.

I settled on a recipe by David Tanis from Saveur Magazine (November 2005 issue) in a feature called An American Cooks in Paris. I liked it for its simplicity, and as I had no idea when I would ever come across fresh chanterelles again, I wanted a recipe that would showcase the flavor of the mushroom, with no other distractions.

The recipe (actually it is more like a lesson as there are no exact measurements or volumes) is for Wild Mushroom Sauté and includes more than one type of mushroom. It’s an excellent basic recipe for any mushroom and is still one of my favorite ways to prepare them.

Wild Mushroom Sauté
(from Saveur Magazine November 2005 issue, page 72)

- Spread mushrooms out to dry and clean them. Trim of brown spots. Cut off bottoms and split them to remove dirt. If they are really dirty just swish them around in some warm tap water.
- Roughly slice the mushrooms.
- Heat some extra virgin olive oil in a sauté pan, add one clove of minced garlic, cook for a minute, raise the heat, and throw in the mushrooms (thickest first if using different types).
- Sauté for about 4-5 minutes.
- Season with salt and pepper then toss in some chopped parsley.
- Get the mushrooms off the fire and turn out onto a plate.

Simple and perfect…especially for my chanterelle “harvest” as this really highlights the mushroom’s flavor without much accoutrement. I was in mushroom heaven! This was one of those meals eaten with eyes closed, in hope that it wouldn’t end. Isn't it amazing how a single ingredient can transport you?

If the chanterelles and I ever cross paths again, I will be looking for recipes on The Flying Apple and Nami-Nami, two blogs that I know to have great ways with chanterelles (as I am usually at the comment box, green with envy at the mushrooms they find and cook).

***I asked the staff of Santis when they will have chanterelles again. They said that supply isn’t regular so they can’t predict. Sigh…I supposed some things are all the more magical because you never know when they will choose to grace your life again…

21 comments:

Pille said...

Glad you found fresh chantarelles! It's been unusually warm here, so few weeks ago they were still selling fresh chantarelles from the islands at the market here!! I'm, however, happily eating through my pickled and salted wild mushrooms, so no need to buy any fresh ones just yet:)
Will bookmark your recipe, too!

Midge said...

Mushrooms aren't good for your chakras?! That's rather unusual as most Oriental medics recommend mushrooms in one form or another to cure a number of ills.

Oooooh! Sauteed chanterelles: I haven't had any in such a long time. They go perfectly with grilled pork (well, just about anything off the grill, as a matter of fact!).

I called my suking Santi's just now to check if they still had any in stock and was told they were fresh out. Woe is me! Still, I loved reading your post about them.

Socky said...

Mushrooms are high in uric acid, which causes arthritis or gout. But who cares? I love mushrooms. There's something about things that grow in dark places.... that just makes mushrooms more seductive.

Baking Soda said...

Oh I imagine a slice of really good toasted bread underneath...just the way to enjoy mushrooms. Love it!

Tanna said...

Well, Baking Soda's bread would be perfect I'm sure-her bread is wonderful. I would also find these mushrooms perfect on some polenta!

Anonymous said...

Well, Baking Soda's bread would be perfect I'm sure-her bread is wonderful. I would also find these mushrooms perfect on some polenta!

elna said...

that's exactly how i cook any wild mushrooms i could get my hands on - so simple yet tasty! i love it with freshly baked baguettes. there's a farmer's market every saturday in nottinghill and i always buy chanterelles whenever i see some. oh the joy of being in london! am so happy for you getting some of those in manila!

veron said...

some mushrooms are good for the immune system. I love wild mushrooms! I'm not sure if this works for chanterelles but during the short morel season, I order like 5 lbs of it , clean it and saute them briefly in butter then freeze it in batches to be used as needed.

ChichaJo said...

Hi Pille! Oh, to have my own source of wild mushrooms, enough to be able to pickle and salt and store for when there is none :) I have been on the lookout since I found this batch…if I find more perhaps I will buy more than I need and pickle/salt some to store! :)

Hi Midge! I just heard that, since they grow in the dark, we shouldn’t have it that often…but I think, considering the things I love to eat (in wild abandon no less), I may have bigger fish to fry health-wise! I’ll keep checking, and next time I find them I’ll post immediately! Let me know if ever you come across them too :)

Hi Socky! I agree, mushrooms are seductive! But gout, ah yes, and arthritis...the way I eat I have to add heart attack and clogged arteries to that list...hmmm, I think it’s time for a veggie post...

Hi Baking Soda! This time around I just had them by themselves in all their mushroom-y glory...but on warm toast sounds wonderful! Next time :)

Hi Tanna! I’ve never made polenta, although it has intrigued me...maybe soon! :)

Hi Elna! Sigh...I miss my markets in Europe...but then again, I could never find mangoes and mangosteens and bangus and taba ng talangka! Hehe, I guess we just have to “love the one your with”, and be happy knowing that wherever you go in the world, there will always be some goody waiting to be discovered! :)

Hi Veron! Great to hear that some are good for the immune system...thanks for the good news :) Do you think the freezing will work? Because I will SO do that if I find another batch...if it works for morels it should work for chanterelles right? (hope, hope)

christine said...

YUM!! Now THIS is more my thang! I never really knew what these mushrooms were called at the time, but I would get a bunch of them, assorted ones and fix them up pretty much the same way you did, with as little spices/herbs as possible so you could taste the real juices of the shroom.

Looking back now, I think I can safely assume they were chanterelles, oyster (I still couldn't tell these 2 apart)and porcini. I would either add them to my noodle stir-fries or have them on the side after sauteing with olive oil, garlic and salt. Portobellos always got stuffed! And each time with different ingredients. :)

veron said...

I think it will work with chanterelles. The fat in the butter insulates it enough to preserve it. I would say saute it until almost done, let it cool,partition into ziploc then freeze.

ChichaJo said...

Hi Nens! Yum! You have to teach me your stir fry's...so I'm not always stooping over a bubbling pot for hours! :) Definitely mushrooms would be good though....mmmm! Try grilling your portobellos...a cross between a mushroom and a steak! (oh, and please pass on your stuffing recipes for the portobellos too!)

Hi Veron! Thanks! I will remember this for the next time these little treasures cross my path :)

Pamela said...

I LOVE mushrooms and this really sounds like a winning recipe to me!!

Brilynn said...

Oh you and I would get along quite well! I suspect you would also be jealous to know that morels grow in my backyard. They're fickle and do as they please and hide on me as much as possible, but they are well worth the search! I also have a friend who grows mushrooms and has been trying for quite some time to grow morels, I have my fingers crossed that it will happen soon. Lovely dish!

ChichaJo said...

Hi Pamela! We have something in common :) It's a nice simple recipe for when you just want to enjoy the mushroom-ness of it all!

Hi Brilynn! We would definitely get along well! I would be rooting around your backyard for those morels, that's for sure :)

Meeta said...

I love all types of mushrooms too. But chanterelles are so very aromatic and my faves. And Joey, forget those yogis.
This is the perfect quick dinner with some garlic bread or as Tanna said with polenta.

ChichaJo said...

Hi Meeta! Heeheehee...yes, I will eat these wonderfully aromatic lovelies each chance I get :) Hmmm...really must try my hand at polenta one day...

Claudine said...

Hi, Joey! I love mushrooms, too! I just got some dried chanterelle from Rustan's. Will try your recipe when I get back home. Glad to know we have something in common... :->

ChichaJo said...

Hi Claudine! Yes, mushrooms are sooo good! In Santi's they also have a dried wild mushrooms mix, but I do hope I encounter fresh ones again someday :)

Kalyn said...

Just stopping back to let you know I'm featuring your recipe and photo for my South Beach Friendly recipes of the week, with a photo credit for you and a link to your recipe of course. Truly a lovely recipe.

ChichaJo said...

Hi Kalyn! My goodness! I am so flattered and quite thrilled to get a second dish on your South Beach Friendly recipes list! Thank you!