I have an incredible amount of respect for people who grow and/or forage their own food. Although I would love to have a garden, I know it takes an incredible amount of work to get things moving. Foraging for wild food is even harder than gardening – you must know your seasons, where to look, and failing to identify something correctly could lead to illness and even death in some cases.
So, despite having had a mild interest in foraging, I’ve never actually done it except for the handful of wild blueberries here and there. I don’t trust myself to be 100% sure that something is the right plant and not just a look-a-like (anyone seen Into the Wild?). Luckily, however, my boyfriend is a biology student who is in love with fungus. And he knows his mushrooms.
That is how I ended up with a bag of chanterelle mushrooms a couple weeks ago. According to the Wild Harvest website,
While the Morel mushroom is probably the most widely known of the wild mushrooms, it is the Chanterelle mushrooms which many of the world’s great chefs prize above all others.
Also good to note is that you can’t just go out and buy chanterelles at your local grocery store. Most of the time, the only way to get these babies is to find them in the wild.
We chose a very simple way to cook them so we would be sure to catch the full flavors of the shrooms. I sautéed a tiny bit of diced onion and garlic in a couple of tablespoons of Earth Balance, then sautéed the mushrooms just until tender. I added a tiny bit of salt to taste, and some dried rosemary. The mushrooms were served over a piece of toast made with local bread.
After the first bite, we both agreed that they are worth any amount of searching. My bf described them as flowery. They definitely had a hint of sweetness that I haven’t tasted with any other type of mushroom. Eating them was special, not only because of how delicious they were, but because I knew this was a treat I might not get again for a while. It’s a shame chanterelle mushrooms cannot be farmed, but at the same time it may make them less special.
I hope I can get my hands on another bag of these soon. I’ll be looking forward to it for sure.
Have any of you ever tried chanterelles? Or any other foraged mushrooms for that matter?