i can't claim to be an experienced forager. in fact, i'm a true novice. for years i've wanted to forage for mushrooms, but didn't know anyone who could lead me out in the woods... until recently! without even knowing that my friend becca had a secrete chanterelle spot, she offered to take me with her this week. how could i pass that up!? it's not too often people let these secretes out so willingly. i hopped in her car one early morning, picked up her friend, emily, along the way and headed about an hour outside of seattle and into the woods. i toted my camera along to take some early morning foggy mushroom photos. unfortunately i was so giddy to go that morning, i had forgotten my camera's memory card at home. so you'll just have to imagine the beauty of this foggy forest and the variety of colorful mushrooms we stumbled over.
after the gals show me a few examples of true chanterelles and poisonous false chanterelles, i'm let loose to forage on my own. emily tells me that i have to think like a chanterelle to find them. they like to hide, but their vibrant color gives them away. we tread lightly through the pine needle-covered forest floor, watching our every step, and pausing to turn around and look back because so often you can only see them from one particular direction. it was a hugely successful hunt. we gather 6 or 7 pounds, with the bulk coming from the two experienced foragers. but my take home haul was still impressive!
that afternoon, i invited my chef friend liz from eat seattle over and we spent the afternoon cleaning and cooking them, spooning them over toasts, sipping on white wine and chatting about food photography. it was a splendid day! the toasts turned out so incredible, i remade them the next night for a dinner party. we sat down with our toasty appetizer but our guests weren't certain they knew what chanterelles looked like raw. i made a move to get up and snag the leftover shrooms from the fridge, but david halted me and said "use your arm"... our guests gave me a look of confusion, expecting some kind of charade game, but what david really meant was for me to show them my chanterelle tattoo. oh right! that! i've got a sleeve of botanical vegetables, with one lone fungi thrown into the mix. although, according to this personality quiz from the shroom cookbook, i identify more with the king trumpet mushroom. perhaps i need more fungi tattoos...
chanterelle toasts ~ serves 4-6
2 cups thinly sliced chanterelles
1-2 small cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 glug - a big splash - white wine
salt, pepper or chili flakes
sorrel, arugula or micro greens
soft goat cheese
aleppo chili flakes
use a brush to gently clean dirt or pine needles from mushrooms, then thinly slice into roughly equally sized pieces. crush garlic and de-stem thyme. preheat cast iron or non stick skillet over medium heat and add mushrooms along with at least a tablespoon of olive oil and a pinch of salt. cook until mushrooms are just nearly cooked through. then turn the heat up to medium-high and add garlic, thyme, black pepper or chili flakes and white wine. cook until white wine has evaporated off completely.
drizzle olive oil lightly over one side of sliced bread. broil until browned on just one side. remove from oven and rub toasted side with 1/2 clove garlic. salt and pepper then top with mushrooms and other optional toppings! serve with a little extra olive oil drizzled over each toast.