In Germany we are for the chanterelle season because the German climat is perfect for them since they tend to grow in clusters in mossy coniferous forests, but are also often found in mountainous birch forests and among grasses and low-growing herbs. In central Europe, specially in Germany, Austria and Sweden the golden chanterelle is often found in beech forests among similar species and forms.
Chanterelle mushrooms as a group are generally described as being rich in flavor, with a distinctive taste and aroma difficult to characterize. Some species have a fruity -mirabelle, apricot odor, others a more earthy fragrance and still others can even be considered spicy. The golden chanterelle is perhaps the most sought-after and flavorful chanterelle, and many chefs consider it on the same short list of gourmet fungi as truffles and morels. It therefore tends to command a high price in both restaurants and specialty stores.
Cooking tricks with chanterelle
There are many ways to cook chanterelles. Most of the flavorful compounds in chanterelles are to sauté in butter, oil or cream. They also contain smaller amounts of water- and alcohol-soluble flavorings, which lend the mushrooms well to recipes involving wine or other cooking alcohols. Many popular methods of cooking chanterelles include them in sautés, soufflés, cream sauces, and soups. They are not typically eaten raw, as their rich and complex flavor is best released when cooked.
Chanterelles are also well-suited for drying, and tend to maintain their aroma and consistency quite well. Some chefs profess that reconstituted chanterelles are actually superior in flavor to fresh ones, though they lose in texture whatever they gain in flavor by becoming more chewy after being preserved by drying. Dried chanterelles can also be crushed into flour and used in seasoning in soups or sauces. Chanterelles are also suitable for freezing, though older frozen chanterelles can often develop a slightly bitter taste after thawing.
In the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan, it is known as Sisi Shamu and is generally picked from the forests. During the season, it is cooked with cheese and chilies or cooked with meat.
Sautéd chanterelle mushrooms with garlic and thyme
Ingredients: 500 gr chanterelle, two cloves of garlic, 1 teaspoon of fresh thyme, 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter, rosemary sprig, chopped parsley, lemon juice or white wine (optional), 200 ml cream or 4 tablespoons of sour cream, salt and pepper, chopped parsley
I like when my chanterelles are “well done”, where just about all the water in them is fully cooked out and they take on a crispy texture.
Directions: First it’s important to wash carefully the chanterelle in order to get rid of the dirt. Then cut the mushrooms into fairly large pieces as they shrink a lot when cooked. So when you are ready with the cleaning and cutting process heat the butter and oil mixture in a frying pan, add the diced chanterelles, sear on one side, over medium heat (don’t move them around too much) until they are browned (about 10 minutes), then toss the mushrooms in the pan to expose the other side to the heat. The edges should be crispy like a chip and the texture firm.
Add the minced garlics and the fresh thyme leaves, rosemary sprig and let them cook for a few minutes until the garlic has softened, but not burned.
Pour over white wine and let it simmer. Two minutes before the chanterelles are tender enough add cream or sour cream to dish and let it cook for 2 minutes. You can also hit the mushrooms with a touch of lemon juice or vinegar at the end for a little acidity (but be careful if you use cream).
Taste and re-adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper if needed. I garnished my chanterelles with risotto, the rice was cooked in white wine and I flavored with a little bit of grated Parmesan. It was just perfect!