Five ways to use chanterelles, from pasta to pies
Simplicity is key when preparing these golden wild mushrooms.
Mushrooms are a thing of wonder. Ceps, saffron milkcaps, chanterelles… Take a walk through the woods at the right time of year — autumn is peak season, but you’ll also find them in summer too — and you’ll find a whole host of fungi erupting from shady pockets of moist ground. With lingering humidity still in the air, the earth dampens underfoot, and gluts of chanterelles aren’t far away.
Foragers have to be careful not to mistake the read deal for the bright orange false chanterelles — there’s some debate over whether they’re edible, so they’re best avoided. If you don’t want to take the risk, or you simply don’t fancy picking your own, genuine chanterelles can often be found in larger supermarkets, in greengrocers and at markets.
Chanterelles are distinguished by their gold colour and goblet-like shape, which makes them look rather regal on the forest floor. Some say, when cut fresh, they smell like apricots. After picking, it’s best to use a small brush to remove any dirt that might have got caught in the fine folds of the mushrooms. Chanterelles’ unifying theme when it comes to cooking is simplicity — adding just a few ingredients can really make these mushrooms sing. They pair perfectly with other golden foods, whether it’s butter, cream, cheese, saffron or lemon and, whatever the recipe, I always start the same way: by adding garlic, butter and a little salt and pepper to the lovely golden fungi.
Alex Hely-Hutchinson is the founder of 26 Grains and Stoney Street, London.
The colour of fresh ribboned papardelle, chanterelles and mascarpone cream is a sight to behold. Add a little rosemary when cooking and a little
lemon at the end.
2. Buckwheat crepes
Classic French crepes made with buckwheat flour have a distinctly savoury flavour. Fill them with wilted Swiss chard, a good helping of gruyère and cooked chanterelles.
The simplest way to enjoy chanterelles is on toast. Add a little tarragon, double cream and lemon zest when cooking, finishing with a little lemon before topping your toast.
Chicken and mushroom pie is a real classic, and it feels incredibly decadent when made with chanterelles, as they have slightly more texture than classic button mushrooms.
Make a basic risotto, by adding saffron to the stock. In the final 10 minutes of cooking, when the risotto is starting to come together, add your chanterelles.
Published in Issue 16 (summer 2022) of Food by National Geographic Traveller (UK)
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