Monday, November 13, 2017

How NOT to cook Chanterelles!

Lesson number one from my Chanterelle experience - pack your patience. Buy the biggest bag you can find at Goodwill and pretend you are traveling around the world and through every climate. Pack accordingly.   Overpack to the point of needing your entire family jumping on top to zip it shut. Patience in large valises is needed to get past the cleaning phase of these forest floor treasures.

 If you recall we were given some freshly picked chanties yesterday at Glenacres and we were venturing into territory that I have generally avoided. ( Let me clarify, about 10 years ago someone gave us a huge ( you could fit a medium sized Great Dane) bag of these lovely mushrooms but it was so overwhelming that sadly many of them became compost.  I have tried to stay away since t help preserve the species.)   I had done a brief foray online  to assess how to clean them and bottom line learned that it is best to bring along a small brush ( paint or toothbrush style) to rid your finds of the dirt and forest debris in the field.  Our beautiful schrooms were marred  by a heavy coating of dirt that despite my best efforts at carefully brushing to maintain the beautiful fluting and caps I failed.  I went from careful to crazy at the hour mark The survival rate of the mere 7 specimens was reduced to pieces. But they were clean!

After tossing the small bits and pieces off the front porch of the Inn for the outdoor critters that might enjoy, I jumped to the next step which I had read was to dry saute with salt to draw out the high water content of the fungus.  I admit I have never heard of this nor tried it so I was rather surprised when it worked and my pan was flooded with mushroom water.  As quickly as it had been squeezed out though it oddly disappeared!  I had taken them off the heat to answer a call and in the 30 seconds or so of "hey" and" hey", suddenly the liquid was GONE!  I put the pan back on the heat with the clearly stupid thought that it would slide back out of the chanties as if a tsunami wave had come back for seconds.  Insert wry face here.  

The pan had the remains of the Chanterelles, tiny wrinkled orange and coated with a  white frost of salt which I ignored as again I was chatting on the phone and ready to be at the tasting part.  Opps.  Should have tasted them then and there.  In the dim recesses of my mind I did recall in my quick read that mentioned rinsing off the chanties at this point but I rationalized that if you can't wash them to clean off 10 pounds of dirt, why should you be able to successfully wash off salt?  So I tossed the butter in and kept talking on the phone - pulling them off the heat and puffing out my chest with what I felt was success.  
Enter stage left- Steve who of course popped a freshly cooked still hot mushroom.  Steve will eat anything and will always offer a positive comment on even the most dismal of dish failures.  His comment?  " Super salty, was this what you were going for?"