The chanterelle mushroom is a beautiful fungus that grows in many places around North America. The mushroom has a trumpet shape and pale yellow to orange color. Its smooth top gives way to a thin base covered in a grill-like texture. The mushroom grows in a symbiotic relationship with living trees, specifically from the roots of species such as Douglas fir and hemlock. The growing season for chanterelles falls in late spring throughout summer and they can be found in specialty grocery stores during this time.
Chanterelle mushrooms are fairly expensive compared to other mushrooms because they can only be found in the wild. One can harvest chanterelles in the great outdoors, but it should always be done with an experienced guide as chanterelles have many toxic lookalikes.
2. Health benefits of chanterelle mushrooms
In general, mushrooms are considered a super food that fend off viruses and boost the immune system.
Chanterelle mushrooms are incredible for good health as they contain several valuable vitamins and nutrients. Chanterelles are low in fat, high in fiber and a good source of protein. This mushroom makes a great replacement for meat in vegetarian and vegan diets because it contains vitamin B12 and has a meaty texture. Chanterelles are also high in vitamin C.
3. Tasting the chanterelle mushroom
Many chefs around the world revere the chanterelle mushroom as a gourmet delicacy. Chanterelle mushrooms have a savory, meaty texture and delicate flavor. The taste and aroma of the chanterelle can vary significantly between species, some smelling slightly fruity like an apricot or peach and others seem to take on a more woody and earthy odor. Chanterelles can taste somewhat peppery or be downright spicy.
4. Cooking with chanterelle mushrooms
Clean your chanterelles with a soft bristled toothbrush, paying close attention to the grill. Chanterelles can be stored in a paper bag in the fridge for up to a week. Some folks freeze their mushrooms after sautéing, but this can result in a bitter taste and they provide much better flavor when eaten fresh.
All chanterelles are fat and alcohol-soluble, meaning they cook best when grilled or sautéed in butter or oil and they also do very well in wine sauces. Chanterelles are not consumed raw as cooking the mushroom releases its best flavor.
5. Chanterelle mushroom recipes for spring
This versatile mushroom can lend itself to several delicious dishes and pairs wonderfully with fresh spring vegetables.
For a vegetarian dish, consider this recipe from Sweet Paul, a chanterelle and spring onion frittata.
Another great vegetarian option comes from Christine Gallary, who suggests pairing the chanterelle with poached egg, fava beans and fingerling potatoes. The poached egg adds a nice sauce that compliments the mushroom well.
Chanterelle mushrooms also taste wonderful with light meats like chicken. In this recipe from Food & Wine magazine, phyllo spring rolls with chicken and chanterelles make an excellent and easy bake ahead appetizer.