Dinner is served—and it doesn't get much better than this.
On the menu: Sautéed golden zucchini and crisp pan-fried potatoes just harvested from the kitchen garden, grilled lamb leg steaks from our own lamb, wild chanterelle mushrooms found a few steps from the farm. Seasoned with nothing more than salt and pepper. A bit lacking in color, but oh my god was it good.
We don't usually have hurricanes or tropical storms here in the landlocked middle of the country, but last week Hurricane Gustav brought us some welcome late summer rain. Wild mushrooms were soon popping up everywhere, and a few of them were even edible.*
I enjoyed last spring's big morel mushroom bounty immensely, but my heart truly belongs to chanterelles. Apparently I'm not alone, since they're the most sought after wild mushroom in North America. Chanterelles aren't very plentiful around here (at least where I've been looking), but this is the time of year when they're most likely to make an appearance. I did find a few while walking along the ridge above the farm the other day (talk about a great incentive to exercise), and although they were a little past their prime and caked in mud from the downpour, I was able to salvage enough for a couple of swoon-worthy bites.
The first year I lived in Missouri I happened upon several pounds of chanterelles near the entrance to Windridge Farm—and never found anywhere near that many again. There were so many I even made a savory chanterelle pie with a creamy sauce and lattice top. Talk about decadence! Usually, though, my chanterelle bounty is so small that I turn to the same boring but delicious way of preparing them—simply sautéed in plenty of organic butter. A hunk of warm crusty bread is essential for soaking up every drop of the glorious juice.
Wild mushroom hunters and lovers unite! Are you a wild mushroom fan? What kinds do you look for and how do you like to prepare them? If you've written about wild mushrooms on your own blog, you're welcome to leave a link to your post in the comments section.
*Foraging for wild mushrooms can be a wonderful and rewarding thing to do, but you should never taste (or even touch) a wild mushroom unless you are 110% sure that it is edible. Most mushrooms are poisonous, and many are deadly. Please be smart and stay safe!
© 2008 FarmgirlFare.com, the award-winning blog where a dozen years ago I was lucky enough to come across a wild chicken of the woods mushroom (not to be confused with a hen of the woods, or maitake, mushroom) on my first 4th of July in Missouri. It was like finding a couple of pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breast sitting next to a tree. Doused with teriyaki sauce and grilled, it made a fantastic and filling meal that so far I've only been able to dream of reproducing.