One of the nice things about being part of the Little Italy Farmers market is that you are able to buy some really great produce from the local vendors, and get cooking tips and techniques at the same time.
Last weekend we bought some chanterelles from the resident "mushroom man" at the Date Street, San Diego market, and he suggested we make a white wine reduction with shallots to bring out the full flavor of these hard to find wild mushrooms, so that's what we did.
Golden chanterelles taste earthy and smell fruity, and are one of the most sought after wild mushrooms. Because of their subtle flavor, they work extremely well in simple dishes like the pasta dish shown above, or soups, casseroles, risottos and stir fries, which help bring out the wonderful flavors.
Like all mushrooms they require careful cleaning, as dirt gets stuck inside the gills (much like leeks), so rinse them under cold water for a few minutes, then pat them dry on a paper towel.
They are prepared in much the same way as any other mushrooms, you cut off the rough end of the mushroom, and depending on the size of the chanterelles you have (they range from the size of cultivated button mushrooms to about 6 inches in width), you can either leave them whole, or slice them. The outer skin on the mushroom can also be removed, if you prefer.
This recipe makes a really light meal, and you can also add pancetta or bacon (sauteed with the shallots), and serve the pasta with a tossed green salad.
Spaghetti with Chanterelles (serves 2)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 small shallot (finely chopped)
- 10 oz (approx) chanterelles
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 6 oz spaghetti
- few sprigs fresh Italian parsley
- Bring a large pan of water to the boil for the pasta. Once boiled add the pasta and cook according to the instructions for al dente.
- In a large frying pan over a medium heat, warm the oil. Add the chanterelles and saute for 2-3 minutes until lightly golden. Remove from the pan and keep warm.
- Add the chopped shallots to the mushroom liquid, and saute for 1-2 minutes.
- Add the white wine to the onions and cook until most of the alcohol has evaporated, about 1 minute at a high heat.
- Return the chanterelles to the wine and onion mixture, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Cook for a further 2 minutes (the mushrooms should be just cooked but still tender).
- Drain the pasta and add the cooked pasta to the sauce, along with the Italian parsley.
- Add a little more olive oil, if needed, and toss to combine.
- Serve immediately and garnish with a sprig of parsley.