Chanterelles and Other Seasonal Mushrooms

Seasonal mushrooms like chanterelles (pictured) used to be rare, but they're pretty common these days at farmers' markets and fancy food shops. Even so, some Chowhounds still go mushroom-hunting in the woods (not something for the inexperienced, fldhkybnva warns), and even cultivate their own, via mushroom kits.

Chanterelles have a special draw for Chowhound al b. darned, who foraged for them as a kid. Their flavor is complex and slightly fruity, goodhealthgourmet says. Really fresh chanterelles smell like apricots, sweet, nutty, and a little peppery. They're magical, goodhealthgourmet says.

But chanterelles are only the beginning. EWSflash grew Lion's Mane mushrooms (Hericium erinaceus) from a kit—it yielded a big harvest of heavy specimens that tasted amazing sautéed. Another EWSflash favorite: oyster mushrooms. First time she saw them, she bought half a pound, and sautéed them in butter, and enjoyed one of the truly memorable food experiences of her life.

Seasonal mushrooms are best cooked simply, Puffin3 says. Sweat them in a pan on medium-high heat to remove some of the water content (you don't want soggy mushrooms). If moisture accumulates in the pan, blot with paper towels. Puffin3 sautés in clarified butter (al b. darned says it just needs to be real butter, and good) until the mushrooms are firm and a nice golden brown.

Let them shine all on their own, linguafood says, as a spectacular side dish, rather than letting their special flavor get lost in some complex dish.

Discuss: What's your favorite mushroom?

Photo by Flickr member www.guigo.eu under Creative Commons