A Foray and (finally) a Feast
Last fall my husband and I joined the wonderful people of The Mycological Society of Toronto for our very first official foray. We gathered early on a Saturday morning to wander the woods in search of fungal treasure. I have to admit that leaving the forest with a basket full of edible goodies was a big part of my wild foraging fantasy, but I quickly learned that there is so much more to it than that. In fact, most of the people there weren’t event interested in eating the mushrooms. SAY WHAT? A foray without a feast? The magic of this foray lied in the fact that we collectively picked and identified a ridiculous amount of different mushrooms. We went home empty handed, and a little bit overwhelmed (in a good way), but I’m totally looking forward to going again this fall slightly different expectations….and a cooler hat :) Although quite different from what I originally had in mind, it was an awesome experience being able to spend the morning with people so passionate and knowledgeable about mycology, who were more than happy to share.
If you’re interested in learning anything and everything you ever wanted to know about the wild world of mushrooms (except how to identify them – haha – that’s a whole science on its own), I highly recommend reading Mycophilia by Eugenia Bone. Everything about mushrooms is insanely fascinating, at least to my nerdy brain.
Fast forward to this past weekend at the farmer’s market. Forbes Wild Foods is a really great vendor that sells a variety of foraged goodies in the Toronto area…east coast wild sea asparagus, wild mushrooms from all over Canada, local nuts, wild Ontario persimmons (I had no idea they grow here!), and many other things which I have yet to try. It’s always a pleasant surprise visiting them, never really knowing what I will find each week. This past weekend it was these beautiful golden chantrelles.
For the past couple of years that I’ve been buying wild mushrooms, they had one of two fates. Usually they end up sauteed in butter with an egg cracked on top. There is absolutely no reason to tamper with the beauty of wild mushrooms and do anything with them besides sautee them in butter and eat them with eggs. Seriously. But my hands itch to experiment and that’s when the mushrooms have an unfortunate fate of ending up in some overpowering/over-seasoned thing that makes me want to cry and wish that I had sauteed the mushrooms in butter….and eaten them with eggs.
But here I am! With a chantrelle recipe which involves lots of butter…and eggs…and a little extra somethin-somethin. I was trying to be strategic with flavours and fighting hard to hold back the seasoning, hoping to figure out how to do something interesting, while letting the mushrooms shine. Finally I think it kind of worked. The mushrooms are sauteed in butter and laid on a bed of stir fried veggies and eggs, lightly seasoned with soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, and a touch of Sriracha. Chantrelles with Asian flavours aren’t typical, but unless I’m crazy, it’s a shame, because this stir-fry was gooo-oo-od!
- generous knob of ghee (~1 Tbsp.)
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/2 lb cabbage (about 1/4 of a small cabbage), roughly chopped
- 2 stalks celery, cut diagonally
- kernels from 1 sweet corn cob
- 1 tsp. soy sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon sriracha
- 2 tsp. rice wine vinegar
- 1 tsp. toasted sesame oil
- generous knob of butter, to coat the pan + a little more
- 1 - 2 cups golden chantrelles, cleaned, and halved or quartered
- salt, to taste
- green onions, cut diagonally, for garnish
- sesame seeds, for garnish
- sea salt
- Warm up half the ghee in a large stir-fry pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant.
- Add the eggs and cook, constantly breaking them up with a spatula to form bite sized pieces. Remove eggs and garlic from the pan.
- Heat the remaining ghee and add the cabbage pieces.
- Cook the cabbage for about 3 minutes, constantly tossing, until the edges start becoming translucent (the cabbage should still be quite raw overall)
- Add the corn and celery and cook for 3 - 5 more minutes, until the cabbage is tender-crisp.
- Add the eggs back in and toss with all of the seasoning ingredients.
- Cook, tossing, for 15 seconds, to distribute the seasoning. Taste and adjust seasoning. Go easy - less is more in this dish.
- Remove from heat, and cover to keep warm.
- For the sauteed chantrelles, heat the butter in a frying pan over medium heat (choose a size to distribute the mushrooms without overlap)
- Add the chantrelles and lower heat to medium-low. You will notice the water being drawn out of them after a few minutes. Allow this to happen, and cook until the water evaporates (about 5 -7 minutes total) and the edges start browning.
- Carefully flip them over and cook for a few minutes on the other side. Season immediately with salt and toss.
- To assemble the dish, plate the stir-fry, top with sauteed chantrelles, followed by green onions and sesame seeds. Sprinkle with another pinch of sea salt, and serve immediately.