The forager’s harvest, Part I — chanterelles

RECIPES:   CHANTERELLE TARTINES WITH POACHED EGG, CELERIAC CREAM, BORAGE FLOWERS & YARROW LEAVES   |   PINK PEAR CARDAMOM MUFFINS & CHANTERELLE SALTED CARAMEL

Fall harvest squash and girolles - Infinite bellyInfinite belly - poached egg girolles toast 2Infinite belly - pear muffins with girolles caramel 2

Ladies and gentlemen, here it is, the much awaited season I’ve been dreaming about, a moment I’ve been anticipating ever since we moved here… mushroom time! And a full mushroom menu to celebrate. Finally, I can go out into the woods and just get my hands full of chanterelles and ceps! The forest has completely transformed for autumn. Mushrooms of all shapes and sizes now punctuate the landscape with color: red amanites, white coulemelles, yellow girolles, bits of orange moss, brown cèpes, purple amethysts. You feel like Alice in Wonderland, completely overwhelmed by these new objects populating the woods.

Infinite belly - beautiful forest

Infinite belly - mushrooms in the forest

Infinite belly - beautiful forest 2

Beyond being lost, we were more precisely at a loss. Luckily, we were accompanied by our friend André Chachá (his actual name, which coincidentally means “Cat-cat” in French) a Brazilian cook who was working under Chef Régis Marcon in a 3-star Michelin restaurant not far from here in Saint-Bonnet-le-Froid (‘Saint-Beanie-the-Cold”) and who knows a thing or two about mushrooms, at least when it comes to cooking them.

Infinite belly - Chef André ChacháChef André Chachá

As novice mycologists, we opted for the strategy of picking as many types of mushrooms as possible and identifying them later. Showing up at the pharmacy with a basket of colorful forest finds, we were disappointed to discover that almost none of them were edible, and the few that wouldn’t kill you were not gastronomically interesting. Adding insult to injury, the pharmacist explained that even if we had found good ones we would not have been able to eat them since we mixed them all together in the same basket with the other types, and worse, since we in part used plastic bags to collect them… and plastic makes mushrooms ferment. After so much anticipation, we were devastated. Maybe the secret to mushroom success was inaccessible to us newbies.

Infinite belly - mushrooms in the forest 3

Infinite belly - mushrooms in the forest 2

Infinite belly - mushroom in the forest 4

It was Chachá who saved the day. Going back to Saint-Bonnet, we tried a new spot, hoping for better luck this time. Climbing a steep hill to reach the promised land we stood there breathless, but to our dismay this spot looked even worse than the last one — there were less mushrooms in both quantity and variety. To top it off, on our way back down, it started raining. We were scattered in three different corners of the woods when I suggested we should just call it off and go home. As we reluctantly headed down, I saw Chachá stooped over some bright yellow mushrooms. “I think they’re chanterelles! he exclaimed in cheerful Portuguese. Once we started finding them, we just had to follow the path that naturally connected their growth clumps. It got to a point where we ran out of containers and had to use our sweaters to grab more. We ended up getting over 1 kg of chanterelles, which for a small mushroom is quite a lot!

Girolles mushroom basket - Infinite belly

Although the Marcon restaurant (with the cheapest menu starting at 360 euros per person) is off-limits for us at this point, we were lucky enough to have one of their cooks prepare a meal with us at home! And what a treat that was, coming back inside on a chilly afternoon, spending hours making celeriac cream, squash, and toasts to accompany the wild mushrooms we had just foraged. In the end we had so much that we even used them for dessert! Chef Chachá showed us something we had scarcely fathomed before: caramel aux chanterelles.

Infinite belly - pear muffins with girolles caramel 4

Couverts trois vertical

Infinite belly - poached egg girolles toast 4


Chanterelle tartines with poached egg, celeriac cream,
borage flower & yarrow leaves | Serves 2


The celeriac cream:

  • 100g celeriac, peeled & diced
  • 1 small onion
  • 20g butter & some for greasing
  • 400 ml whole milk
  • nutmeg
  • balsamic vinegar
  • salt & black pepper

Infinite belly - Balsamic vinegar

Infinite belly - Poached egg girolles toast

  1. In a pot, melt some butter and start cooking the chopped onions until they become translucid.
  2. Add the chopped celeriac, season with salt & pepper, and cook for two minutes. Add the milk & let it simmer for an hour or until the celeriac is fully cooked. Make sure the milk doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot by stirring often.
  3. In a mixer, pour the celeriac blend and add 20g of butter. Mix thoroughly. Once a smooth consistency is reached, add a pinch of nutmeg and a dash of balsamic vinegar and mix briefly again before serving.

Note: you can make this recipe in larger quantities and serve the leftover as a great side-dish for meats or fish. Mixing less thoroughly will give you more of a purée consistency.

Casserole

Girolles mushrooms - Infinite belly

The sautéed chanterelles:

  • 300-400g fresh chanterelle mushrooms
  • butter
  • fleur de sel & black pepper
  1. Start by cutting off the tips of the chanterelles’ feet. Then, clean using a brush and a damp cloth to remove all the earth. If necessary, rinse quickly under cold water and dry them in a clean cloth.
  2. These mushrooms are best when cooked quickly on high heat. Grease your pan with some olive oil, or ideally duck/goose fat, and turn the heat up. Once the pan is very hot, put the mushrooms in all at once. Season with salt & pepper and stir frequently.
  3. If needed, turn the heat down to medium-high in order to avoid burning. The chanterelles should get tender within a few minutes and ready to be eaten! Keep the chanterelles in the pot and cover until your tartines are ready.

Girolles mushrooms - Infinite belly

Feuille

The tartines:

  • Two thick slices of bread
  • Butter
  • fleur de sel
  1. With a rectangular cookie cutter, cut neat rectangles out of each bread slice. If you don’t have a cookie cutter, use a knife.
  2. On medium heat, melt some butter in a pan, add the bread slices and season. Turn them over every 30 seconds until both sides are nicely grilled.

Louche horizontal

The poached eggs:

  • 2 farm eggs
  • 2 tsp white vinegar
  • salt for boiling water
  1. In a medium-sized pot, bring salted water to a boil.
  2. Put 2 tsp of white vinegar in two small bowls (one tsp in each) and crack one egg in each bowl.
  3. Using a wooden spoon, stir the boiling water in order to create a whirlpool in the pot. Gently tip over one cracked egg into the water. Cook for 2-3 minutes for a soft yolk or 3-4 minutes for a firmer consistency. Make sure to skim the foam from the water while cooking.
  4. Repeat step 3 for the second egg.

Infinite belly - poached egg girolles toast 3

Panier

Putting it all together:

  • A few borage (starflower) flowers
  • A few yarrow leaves
  1. Start with the toast at the bottom, put a layer of mushrooms on it, followed by the poached egg. Top it with a spoonful of celeriac cream.
  2. Decorate with the borage flowers & the yarrow leaves, both of which are edible, delicious, and seasonal.

Note: for a different presentation, start by pouring the celeriac cream in a soup plate. Place the toast in the center, then the mushrooms, the egg and finally the flowers & leaves.

Ornement trois

Infinite belly - pear muffins with girolles caramel


Pink pear cardamom muffins & chanterelle salted caramel
| For 14-16 muffins


The pear muffins:

  • 4 pink pears
  • 300g all-purpose flour
  • 3 farm eggs
  • 200g brown sugar
  • 8g baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • the zest & juice of 1/2 lime
  • 50g salted butter, melted
  • powdered sugar for presentation
  1. Peel and core the pears. Keep the peelings and put them, along with the melted butter, eggs, and sugar in a mixer. Mix well and reserve.
  2. Dice the peeled pears into very small cubes and put them in a bowl with the lime zest & juice as well as the cardamom. Mix well and reserve for 15 minutes.
  3. In another bowl, sift the flour and baking powder. Add the egg mix and blend until homogenous. Then, add the diced pears.
  4. Pour in a buttered muffin baking pan or a silicon pan and bake for app. 20-30 min in a preheated convection oven at 180°C.
  5. Once baked, remove from pan while still hot and place on a rack to cool.

Infinite belly - Pink pears

Ruban

The chanterelle salted caramel:

  • 80g sugar
  • 80g single cream, hot
  • 63g salted butter & some to cook the chanterelles
  • 50-80g chanterelle mushrooms depending on taste
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar

Infinite belly - pear muffins with girolles caramel 3

  1. In a pan, on medium heat, melt some salted butter and add the chanterelles. Cook them for a couple of minutes and add 2 tbsp brown sugar. Caramelize the chanterelles a few minutes to taste.
  2. Heat up the single cream in the microwave or in a pot.
  3. In a separate pot, on medium heat, start pouring the sugar little by little until it melts and starts browning. Use a hard spatula or a wooden spoon to stir and make sure it doesn’t brown too much or else the caramel will have a bitter taste.
  4. Once you reach the desired color, quickly add the boiling cream, stirring vigorously. As you pour the cream, some lumps may form but keep stirring and bring to a boil in order to make them dissolve. In case you can’t get rid of all of them, manually remove them from the pot.
  5. Off the heat, add the butter & the chanterelles and stir until well blended.
  6. Pour over the cooled muffins and dust with powdered sugar.

Infinite belly


13 thoughts on “The forager’s harvest, Part I — chanterelles

  1. Reading your foraging posts evokes a yearning to be in the county at my brother’s place where small groups of deer drift past and Canada geese land in their pond rather than in a mid-sized Canadian city with the blaring horns of rush hour and ambulance sirens rushing past my house. Their back acres of scrub/brambles are unlikely to be the source of any wild mushrooms however as there are no large trees to create the shade that would promote their growth. A novice to the more exotic types, your eggs and toast make my mouth water. The bright orange colour of the yolks reminds me of those my parents used to bring to my house from their own chickens fed on the tomatoes and other vegetables they grew on their ‘hobby farm’ where my brother now lives.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to read! We are so happy our post evoked a place you love and long for. It is probably the nicest compliment we could get! We get our eggs from our neighbors (we get a lot of things from our neighbors!!) who have free-range hens & quails. They are a wonder! We hope you get to visit your brother soon to enjoy spending time on his farm — sounds like a lovely place.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Regrettably, neither he nor his wife are farmers so there are no more chickens and eggs, ducks or fruits and vegetables. They’re teaching/ nursing professionals who work in the city and enjoy the quiet of the county with lots of space for their Bouviers de Flanders. They have 5 … 3 adults and 2 youngsters (2 1/2 yrs old) from a first litter produced by their couple, Zsa Zsa and Ricky. Perhaps they’ll start that bed and breakfast they talked about in the past. He’s also a chocolatier though they closed their shop years ago.

        Regrettably I don’t have any more recent pics of the dogs to post. :)

        http://a-boleyn.livejournal.com/153732.html

        Liked by 1 person

      2. A bed & breakfast does sound lovely! I sometimes think about that too…
        These dogs are amazing!! Actually one of my very favorite breeds. They have such adorable messy fluffy faces. We actually used to have a small version of these dogs — a Pyrenean shepherd, named Matisse. He passes years ago and we still miss him immensely. What a happy crowd these 5 dogs must be!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Bonjour Andre et Adelaide – thank you for visiting our blog. I hope you will try some of our recipes – perhaps the Serbian Apricot Torte would appeal? It was truly spectacular and worthy of any Alain Ducassse trained pastry chef!
    Your blog is whimsical and beautiful, I must say you do seem to have a love affair with fungi! Even putting them in your caramel sauce on pear muffins?!
    I know there are Boletus type mushrooms growing wild in the pine plantations near my home in the Blue Mountains, locally called Slippery Jacks. But I’m too scared to pick them as I just can’t indentify the edible variety 100%!
    We do have loads of Saffron Milk Caps ( Lactarius Deliciosa ) commonly known as Blue Mountain Bloods or Pine mushrooms as they have a symbiotic relationship with pines and only grow on the roots of them. They are a beautiful and disctintive mushroom, very easy to spot and like their name, delicious to eat – well cooked of course!
    Cheers Mimsey

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bonjour Mimsey & Bunny!
      Thank you for sharing the mushroom knowledge :). I’m actually sad I didn’t know much about mushrooms a few years back when I lived in Sydney for a year and a half and took quite a few trips to your beautiful Blue Mountains. What a wonderful place to live!
      Really enjoyed stopping by your blog and seeing all the creative food flags you made — they’re great!! — as well as reading about food from allover the world. It’s a fantastic project.
      The apricot torte does look ravishing and I’m also quite tempted to try the Congolese peanut soup. I’ve seen recipes for this one before and have been willing to try making it but somehow haven’t gotten around to it. I guess now is the time!
      All the best,
      Adélaïde

      Like

    1. How exciting!!! Mushroom foraging is fantastic :). The main things we learned:
      – don’t use plastic bags but baskets or paper bags to collect the mushrooms
      – don’t mix different species of mushrooms together (so take *many* paper bags)
      – take a small knife and brush with you to be able to clean the mushrooms as you go so that they’ll be almost ready to cook when you come home
      – always get them checked at a pharmacy (at least in France you can do that — I don’t know about the US but it’s worth a try!)
      – we find it useful to go with a walking stick or a cane to move branches and leaves without having to bend over all the time
      – bring a handy mushroom dictionary to try to identify species as you go
      Good luck on your foraging adventures!! Would love to hear how it goes for you x

      Like

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