In the Great Valley of East Tennessee we are 16 inches above average rainfall as of July 3. That has meant a LOT of chanterelles, but it also means picking a lot of wet ones. This can mean problems in storage. I keep mine in an extra refrigerator, in a spare basket(s), covered by a dish towel. Sometimes you may want to pre-dry them first. The picture above is 8 pounds I picked this morning. I laid them out on my porch table with a light breeze blowing on them from a ceiling fan. Once they dry I’ll put them in the frig.
ALWAYS examine EVERY chanterelle as you pick them, even in the middle of a large dense patch. Below is a picture of a poisonous Amanita growing between two chanterelles. I actually picked it, but when I turned it over to trim and examine the underside of the cap, I saw that I had an Amanita. Tunnel vision in a mushroom patch can be dangerous. Developing good picking habits prevents inadvertent collections of unwanted species.
Along this same line, I had someone come up to me in the market Saturday with her “prized chanterelle”. It was a beautiful Jack-O’Lantern. I was able to show her the gills and discuss the differences with her. Last year I found a single Jack in the midst of a chanterelle patch myself. Looking around I finally spotted all the others on the back side of a nearby dead tree.
Just a tip: Examine every mushroom before it goes in the basket and err on the side of caution!
For Fathers Day I grilled some steaks and made a delicious creamy chanterelle sauce (gravy) that’s worth sharing. I had picked about 6 ounces (a quart) that morning and it was the perfect amount to prepare enough sauce/gravy for three steaks.
Chanterelle Steak Sauce/Gravy
- 6 oz chanterelle mushrooms
- 1 tbs butter
- 2 tbs finely minced shallots
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ¼ cup white wine
- 1 cup heavy cream
- ¼ tsp dried thyme
- ½ tsp cracked black peppercorns
- 1 tsp chicken bouillon granules
- Fresh parsley for garnish
- Carefully clean the mushrooms (small ones are best). Dry-fry (dry saute) them in a pan until most of the moisture from mushrooms is cooked out. Set aside.
- Melt the butter in the pan. Saute the shallots and garlic until tender, about 3 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and the mushrooms and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat and cook, covered, for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the cover and continue to cook for another 5 minutes. Add more heavy cream for a thicker sauce, add more wine for a thinner sauce.
- Spoon the sauce over grilled steaks, garnish with chopped parsley, and serve immediately.
Chanterelles June 14, 2013
If there is one thing that can cure the post-morel blues it’s fresh chanterelles. With the rainfall, at this point in the year 13+ inches above normal, I’m expecting a great year. The normal season here in the Valley is around July 1 to Aug 15, although you will find them later in cooler locations. This year I spotted my first tiny ones on June 3. I let them grow for 10 days and then came back and picked this bunch. Granted, these are small but it’s a good sign.
These were from a spot that typically comes up first among the spots I hunt. I’m hoping for abundance in a couple of weeks.