This is the best way to cook chanterelle mushrooms. Well, it is my favorite anyway. Your mileage may vary.
This summer has seen a chanterelle boom around here, and we have cooked them about every way possible, even drying a few for use this winter.
The thing about chanterelles is the amount of moisture they pack inside their cells. When you cook them, that moisture escapes. With some traditional mushroom-cooking methods, namely batter frying or dusting in a dry flour coating and sauteing, this excess moisture causes the flavorful crust either to become a soggy mess or even to fall off completely.
And, to be honest, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Chanterelles are packed so full of savory, woodsy mushroom flavor and velvety, unctuous mouthfeel that they don’t need a spicy or savory batter to make them excel at the table.
So how do you rid the mushrooms of excess moisture, at the same time concentrating their flavor and imparting a pleasing texture to the finished dish? You pan-fry them in a dry skillet for a bit before introducing butter, along with garlic if you wish, to finish the mushrooms and provide a soft, velvety mouthfeel with just a bit of crunch around the edges.
Serve the pan-seared mushrooms by themselves, in an omelet, or spoon them over a good steak like this strip steak from E3 Meat Co.
1 pound fresh chanterelle mushrooms, cleaned and patted dry
4 tablespoons butter
1 or 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
To start the cooking process, add the mushrooms to a dry nonstick skillet or well-seasoned cast-iron pan over medium-high heat. Don’t worry about sticking, just let the mushrooms sit on the bottom of the pan until they start to release their moisture. As the mushrooms cook, more and more moisture will escape into the pan. Continue to cook, pushing the mushrooms around the pan with a spatula from time to time to make sure they are all exposed to heat.
After a few minutes, moisture will no longer escape from the mushrooms. Continue to cook until all of the water in the pan has evaporated and the mushrooms once again rest on a dry bottom. Add the butter to the skillet and stir the mushrooms in the pan.
At this point, add the sliced garlic, if desired. Continue to sauté the mushrooms until they are golden brown and the edges are slightly crisp. Serve the mushrooms by themselves or as an element of another dish.
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