Chanterelles

The unique Chanterelle – a gourmet's delight.

Chanterelles Photo by en. Wikipedia.org

Chanterelles
Photo by en. Wikipedia.org

An alternative name for chanterelles, is Egg mushroom. The reason for this becomes quite obvious, when you see them. They are the color of scrambled eggs. They are very meaty and flute shaped with a wavy fringe to the cap. The gills are in the form of shallow wide spaced ridges, running about halfway down the stem. The meat is pure white.

They can get quite big here on the West Coast. I have found some with 6 inch diameter caps. You can spot them easily because of their bright color – it shines like a beacon in the woods.

Chanterelles are found in second growth forest, at an elevation of about 1000 to 2000 feet under Douglas firs and Hemlock. Once you find them, remember the place because they will be there again the next year.

Like all mushrooms, the egg mushroom depends very much on the weather for its growth. There can be huge differences in it's numbers from year to year, determined by the amount of rainfall.

There is one look alike. It's called the Jack O' Lantern mushroom. It has true gills and the meat inside is orange rather than white, like in the chanterelle. It is not deadly poisonous, but might give you a bad bellyache, when you eat it. So don't!

Chanterelles are served in the best restaurants, particularly in Europe. They are highly valued by chefs all over the world. You can buy them in the supermarket, but be prepared to pay a pretty penny for them.

What makes them unique is their flavor. It's unlike any other mushroom. It's also very difficult to describe. Get some, smell and taste them and you will know. Their flavor, however, is best after cooking. I don't like them raw.

There are many ways to prepare them. The easiest way is just cut them up after cleaning ( I never wash them. I just trim of the bottom part of the stem in the woods and wipe them with a dry cloth or paper towel at home.) and saute them in butter with some onions, as a side dish with chicken, pork or lamb.

They are great in soups, sauces, omelets and casseroles.

Here is one I like:

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb chanterelles, cut in quarters
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • ¼ cup of rich chicken broth
  • ½ cup of heavy cream
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons of minced fresh parsley

Directions:

  • Place the chanterelles in a buttered casserole pan.
  • Cover with the chopped onions.
  • Cover the dish and bake in a preheated 350 degree F oven for 20 minutes.
  • Remove the cover, add the broth and cream and bake uncovered for another15 minutes.
  • Do not let the cream boil.
  • Spice with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Serve as a side dish with meat or as a sauce on pasta or rice.
  • Whether you have a life mushroom mentor or not, you will need a guide book to help you with this. Get one at the store - here.

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