Chanterelles – fragrant forest mushrooms
Chanterelles are back in season! Not quite sure how to use these golden mushrooms? We’ve dedicated some of our summer Specials to them to inspire you. But first let’s get the low down on these delicious wild mushrooms.
Although their peak season is in autumn, warm weather and summer showers means chanterelles can grow as early as June. If you know what you’re looking for you can head to the woods to forage for them yourself. Alternatively, pay a visit to your local market or supermarket. Fresh chanterelles have a rich golden colour and a smooth surface with no creases or blemishes. They keep for up to two days in the fridge, but need to be kept in a dry, well ventilated spot so never wrap them up in cling film. Although chanterelles can be frozen, they’re best enjoyed fresh. There’s no need to wash them beforehand. Instead, use a special mushroom brush or some kitchen roll to remove any surface dirt before prepping.
Their delicate aroma best unfolds when the mushrooms are hot fried for a few minutes and then left to slow cook for another ten minutes. Only season with a little salt and pepper at the end of cooking. Use chanterelles to top salads, as a side for fish and meat recipes or add them to a risotto or pasta dish.
Real fans eat the freshly fried mushrooms with some chopped parsley and a slice of crusty bread – a simple idea for a tasty starter at your next dinner party.
As they cannot be farmed, chanterelles are regarded as a culinary delicacy. These wild mushrooms only grow in special symbioses where there are spruces, copper beeches or similar forest trees. They’re only harvested in the wild, primarily in Eastern Europe. Lots of countries only permit chanterelle foraging for private consumption to prevent stocks being depleted. The season ends in October.
It’s always best to eat fruit and vegetables when they’re in season. And Mother Nature has been kind by giving us delicious chanterelles just as the strawberry and asparagus season draws to a close. Buon appetito!