How to cook chanterelles

Chanterelle mushrooms are an autumn treat in the Northwest. A family friend brought Robert and me about a pound of beautiful, fresh mushrooms last week. Here’s how I fixed them.

No. 1 rule: Do Not Disturb!

Brush off the soil from about a pound of chanterelles with a vegetable brush. A few little specks left won’t hurt you. Cut them into equal-size pieces, not too small; 2-inch slices are about right.

Melt a pat of butter (not clarified butter — you want the caramelizing effect of the milk sugars) and about twice as much olive oil, about 1 tablespoon, in a medium-size, heavy skillet. Mushrooms can soak up a lot of oil, so you may have to add some more later.

With the pan on moderate heat, lay the mushrooms in a single layer. Let them bubble in the butter for about 10 minutes, until nicely browned on the bottom. Don’t be tempted to stir them.

Now, turn the slices over and continue to brown, about 6 minutes. Chop some garlic, fresh thyme, and salt together in a fine dice and stir into the mushrooms. Cook a bit more, but don’t let the garlic get too brown. Turning off the heat and leaving the pan on the (electric) burner will probably finish the mushrooms to perfection. The mushrooms are now brown and crisp, with a delightful, earthy flavor.

Too bad they shrink so much. A pound of mushrooms feeds just about two people.

Once again, I wish I had taken a photo of the chanterelles, before and after. But I’m just so busy cooking, and then, then they are begging to be eaten, not photographed.

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