Sunday, October 17, 2010
I love the fall. The sun feels warm yet there is a certain hollowness to the rays. Step into a shadow and know winter’s on the way. Nights turn crisp, and the air smells like blackberry pie. The first freeze will soon be here, pumpkins are ripening, and I start thinking about long-cooked braises and stews, and the soul-comforting foods of autumn.
With all the rain we had in the Northwest this summer and the nice warm autumn days we have had lately I knew it wouldn't be long before the foragers would start appearing at our door with amazing Chanterelle mushrooms. I plunge my face into them and inhale their sweet pumpkin-apricot aromas of forest and leaves.
My favorite way to serve Chanterelle mushrooms is sliced and sautéed in some butter with some chopped garlic and shallots, S + P until they are cooked and have given up some of their juices. Add some chopped Italian parsley and fresh thyme. Let the juices reduce a little (especially if you add a splash of white wine and/or chicken stock) which is not necessary but will add some acidity and complexity to the sauce. At the last second swirl in some additional butter to give the sauce some body.
Check and correct seasonings. Brush some sliced La Brea Bakery country bread or rosemary bread with some olive oil and grill it until nicely charred. Then arrange on a plate with a small tuft of arugula.
If you like, add a few drops of white truffle oil which will enhance the mushroomy garlic flavor (and when I say drops --I mean with an eye dropper-- otherwise the truffle oil will overpower the dish). Add some generous shavings of reggiano cheese, and serve with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice over everything. And if you don’t want to go to all that trouble--come by Pacific Grill where we are serving this dish while Chanterelles are in season.