The end of August is that time when the first chanterelles spring out of the moss on the slopes of old forests. This year is not a good one yet, as we have not had much rain. But my tenacity paid off and I still found a few small ones well hidden under dead trees and barely visible. So, I can’t wait for some heavy rain and then more sunshine!
The biggest job is to clean the chanterelles by cutting off the bottom of the stem and scraping and/or brushing off any sand or soil and removing all leaves, worms, pieces of moss. I find it best to use a knife, scrape pine needles and dirt, wipe the blade and repeat. All this without water if possible. If the mushrooms are very dirty, it will help to clean them under running water, but avoid dipping them in a water bath as they will retain all that water. Wet chanterelles don’t sauté well and loose a lot of flavor.
Now, cut the chanterelles to an even size, small or big does not matter. Pat them dry if there is moisture on them. Add them to a very large frying pan or, if you have a lot to cook, a jam making pan, containing olive oil or canola oil. Sauté at least seven minutes on very high without covering. Add chopped garlic, butter and sprinkle with parsley at the end. If the chanterelles are very dry, which happens sometimes, you can add a half a glass of white wine after a few minutes to finish the cooking without burning. The problem is usually the opposite though, getting rid of all the moisture quickly so the mushroom do not boil in their own water. It helps to salt them right away.
Note: You can also fry them in a pan with 2 or 3 slices of bacon. You can also add cream, shallots, balsamic.
Once the chanterelles are ready, eat them, or add them to a risotto, a sauce or an omelette. If you want to freeze some, do so once cooked but before adding anything as they will fare better plain in ziplock bags.
I only found yellow chanterelles today, but the recipe is the same for the white variety (even more flavorful).