When you have one of the state’s foremost mycologists to dinner, what do you serve? Anything with mushrooms would be safe. With the visit of Ken Gilberg to the farm this past weekend, it was great to harvest and cook a variety of chanterelles with an expert at your elbow. You may know Ken as the owner of Herberia, a shop for fragrant, all natural soaps located on the Hill in St. Louis. (I love the French Lavender—but I digress.)
Back to the chanterelles. The golden nuggets vary in aroma: some species have a fruity odor, others are more woody and some even spicy. They are highly sought after and often listed alongside truffles and morels on the short list of gourmet fungi.
Ken Cooks Pork and Chanterelles
A foray into the woods turned up more than enough chanterelles for two meals. It was agreed that Ken would prepare the main course for eleven guests that evening and Robin would do lunch the next day with yet another mushroom laden dish.
Ken turned to a classic Austrian recipe of pork, onions, garlic, sour cream, caraway seeds, marjoram, pancetta and girolles—French for chanterelles; pronounced zhee-rohls. The ingredients reminded me of a stroganoff dish I used to make, but with more emphasis on the mushrooms. Ken’s version was a splendid, earthy rendition with a divine aroma.
The recipe suggested serving the pork-mushroom entrée with bread or new potatoes, both suitable for mopping up the sauce. I cooked some small Yukons, threw together a salad, and neighbors brought fresh-baked, French bread. Earlier in the day our neighbor’s yard had proven to be a treasure trove of chanterelles some of which resided in the main dish that evening.
Robin Cooks Pizza with Chanterelles
Next afternoon, Robin sautéed the golden chanterelles with onions for a pizza topping. Along with tomato sauce, Mozzarella, and pepperoni, the combination made a colorful pie. It was, undoubtedly, one of the best pizzas we’ve made in the outdoor cob oven that we built (and rebuilt) last year. The small, wood-burning oven takes several hours to reach 800 degrees, but then it cooks a pizza in minutes, just like the commercial oven.
It was the end of a perfect weekend of mushrooming, but not the end of the mushrooms. There were still a few to take back to St. Louis to enjoy later.