Saturday, August 29, 2015

Chanterelles Gift

I was gifted an ample pile of foraged chanterelle mushrooms from a long time friend, Mai.  What a wonderful culinary opportunity.

 However, knowing the hazards of randomly picked fungi, I did some research before cooking them up.  One good source is from the Mycological Society of San Francisco. 

I learned of the look alike and toxic jack-o-lantern mushroom that is bio-luminescent.  I read that chanterelles have false gills that fork and white flesh instead of the orange flesh and true gills of the jack-o-lantern. I read a story about an ER worker who had a patient they named "Jack" because he came in poisoned from eating the toxic version two years in a row because the poisonous jack-o-lantern has a lovely fruity smell like the chanterelle.  I even found comfort in learning that toxic one is not deadly; it just makes you wish you were dead for a couple of days. 

 Once confident that this gift was in fact chanterelles, I carefully cleaned them.  They smelled wonderfully pungent of the earth and apricots.  Sauteed with garlic in butter they were superior to other fungi. The flesh was firmly creamy while the flavors of fruity umami carried solidly through the butter and garlic.  I look forward to more chanterelles.

I appreciate the gift of a bag of mushrooms.  The sharing of a precious, seasonal bounty, the piqued curiosity about wild mushrooms and the new reason to connect with my immediate nature are the best part of this present.  Thanks, Mai.

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