Chanterelle Mushrooms Bruschetta
Whenever possible, I love to eat food that is in season. It is true that sometimes for reasons related to my work or just because the temptation is too strong, I end up cooking and eating bell peppers in December and butternut squash in July. But I like to think that the food in season tastes better. Which is the case when you buy your provisions at the farmers’ market, while probably in the grocery store the bell pepper has the same provenience every month of the year – and the same taste.
In any case there is always a factor of surprise of the senses when you can taste again a flavor after six or nine months of absolute abstinence: it is inebriating. It’s like going back memory lane.
Well, this is the case for the Chanterelle mushrooms. And it is not a self-imposed rule: chanterelle only grow wild and can only be harvested in the fall – even though of course there are experiments to farm them, and sooner or later we will be able to buy them all year around.
In Italy mushroom foraging is a hobby that affects all generations, so usually from July – August until early November you leave early in the morning for a good and healthy walk in the forest, carefully measuring your steps and scanning the soil around you, hoping to find a delicate mushroom pushing from under a wet leaf. The best days are the ones after a heavy rain, when the sun comes out and temperature rises. Mushrooms grow extremely fast and spoil after one day or two.
Many kinds of mushrooms can grow in a forest, but Chanterelle is always my preferred one, called Finferli in Italian, for its amazing, beautiful gold yellow color. Fascinating how food has so many colors, but this is a different subject.
In any case, the good thing (or bad, depending on your point of view!) is that now you do not have to go foraging, you can buy the mushrooms at some farmers markets (there is often a dedicated stand), or – believe it or not – at Costco. And those are extremely affordable compared to the skyrocketing prices for wild Chanterelle in other fruits and vegetables stores.
Chanterelle can be cooked in different ways, but I think the simplest is the better to get most of their taste. They are very poor in calories (mostly water and some carbs), but very rich in Vitamin B2, Vitamin D and iron.
The recipe I propose today is something I tasted when I was 20 something in Tuscany, during a stay at a bed and breakfast overlooking the hills. The owner had a good harvest that morning, and prepared chanterelle for us for breakfast. The velvety texture of the mushrooms combined with the crunchiness of the bread, the earthy and woodsy flavor – I still think of that breakfast as divine.
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For 4 Servings
1 cup Carnaroli rice
1 medium onion, chopped
2-3 tablespoons of EV Olive Oil
½ glass of white table wine
1 pint chicken stock preprepared (or vegetable stock)
1 cup rinsed blueberries
1 cup roasted chestnuts or more, chopped in big pieces
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons gorgonzola cheese (optional)