Thursday, September 8, 2011

My Golden Treasures-Chanterelles

Walking through my neighborhood farmer's market  this past Sunday, I nearly jumped for joy when I spotted this vendor I stood mesmerized, staring, as in front of me was the most amazing selection of mushrooms. And front and center on the middle table was a pile of gorgeous, fresh, stunningly beautiful and perfectly golden Chanterelles! My absolute favorite fungi in the entire universe.

The joy was quickly replaced by shock when I saw the price per pound. Not to say I didn't expect it, after all they not only look like gold but are priced like it as well! Every year however, when the season for these incredibly earthy, buttery and deep flavored mushrooms begins (August through December), I secretly hope that this time it will be different. Maybe the price will drop? Sadly just like real gold these days, chanterelles are holding their value.

After a brief contemplation with myself, I decided to forge ahead, take the plunge and invest in roughly 1 Pound! I justified it simply as a MUST. An investment of sorts. An investment in my appetite. I was going to share with my husband after all so it wasn't a completely selfish decision. I paid $34 for slightly less then half of a paper bag, and skipped home ready to cook and devour. I quickly stopped only to grab a few chippolino onions (they are super duper sweet when sauteed or caramelized) from an organic vendor near by, for I wanted only the best for my golden treasures!

Chanterelles sauteed in a little butter, olive oil, white wine,
onions and a touch of garlic

I swooned over every single bite of this simple and quick saute with flavors so luxurious and decadent they made me moan. Chanterelles are really special and I highly recommend you try them. I know it's the Russian in me that craves them probably more often then I should as growing up in Kiev I had them almost daily in the fall months. Until today I remember going to the Bazzar (a marketplace selling anything and everything under the sun, including fresh food items ) with my grandma who would by pounds of these bright golden orange mushrooms.

My grandma would slow cook them in to a delicious stew with potatoes and onions until they were velvety smooth. Oh gosh how I remember it as if it were yesterday although I was only 7 or 8 at the time! We called chanterelles "lesichki" in Russian which literally translates to "little foxes". A perfect name for these mushrooms. Aside from their orange golden color like that of fox, their surprisingly rich flavor creeps up on you as cunningly and deceptively as a "lesichka".  So get ready to be blown away!

Simple Chanterelle Saute

1 lb Chanterelles
1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Large Sliced Onion (Chipollino if possible or other sweet variety)
2 garlic cloves minced
1 Cup Chardonney (one you would want to drink)
Kosher Salt and Black Pepper

Step 1
In a large saute pan, over medium heat combine the butter with a generous drizzle of olive oil. Once the butter has melted add the minced garlic and sliced onions, sprinkle with kosher salt and cook until translucent for about 10min.

Step 2
Add the cleaned mushrooms to the pan, stir well and cook for another 5-7 minutes.

Step 3
Add the wine, and drop the heat to low. Continue until the wine cooks down, another 8 minutes or so. Season with salt and pepper to taste an serve while warm.

I ate the mushrooms as is for I simply could not focus or take the time to prepare anything else. However, feel free to spoon mixture over mashed potatoes, fried potatoes, home made pasta such as linguine or on top of a nicely charred piece of crunchy baguette.

1 comment:

  1. Yum brought back memories of mother Russia ;-)..your lavish description made my drool a bit! Diana