In the fall, the end of sweet corn season overlaps ever so briefly with the appearance of wild, wonderful chanterelle mushrooms (Cantharellus cibarius). The mushrooms, with their incredible golden-orange color, springy texture and subtly earthy taste, to me are always worth a once-yearly splurge. I get just enough to make a side dish and figure my kid won’t eat more than one or two bites, if that, so it doesn’t end up costing too much.
Not being the most creative of cooks, I usually use the same recipe each year, from Alice Waters’ “Chez Pannisse Vegetables.” I probably don’t need to explain who Alice Waters is or how she has transformed the dialog in this country about where we get our food and how it’s produced. But I will say that some of her other cookbooks have seemed daunting to me, with multiple hard-to-find ingredients and long preparation times. This one just addresses vegetables and has mostly fairly simple recipes, and a few per veggie to choose from (it would be a great one to pick up for those of you with CSA boxes that come with challenging contents like sorrel, amaranth greens, parsnips, etc). Often the recipes are just suggestions of ingredients and general cooking advice, with no measurements per se or exact cooking times. I’m not very used to this kind of method but at least in the mushrooms’ case, it seems to work out pretty well.
So, with full credit to Ms. Waters, here is the recipe for
Corn and Summer Chanterelles
Clean and slice some chanterelles and saute in a little butter. Season with salt and pepper. When they have begun to brown and are nearly done, add some chopped garlic and parsley, and continue cooking gently, another minute or two. Add fresh sweet corn kernels cut from the cob and a splash of water. Cook until the corn is just done, taste for seasoning, and add a nut of butter off the heat.
Oh, the parking strip connection is that I harvested the parsley from our street garden.
Here are the mushrooms, all chopped up and ready to go (next to one of my favorite recent purchases, a mushroom-shaped mushroom brush!):
This one’s size was really impressive:
Mmmm, nothing like the smell of melting butter to make you feel warm and snug on a cool fall day:
Everything’s in the pot and cooking up nicely:
I didn’t get a shot of it all finished and composed on the plates along with the fusilli con pesto e patate (using a many-hued assortment of farmers’ market potatoes my daughter picked out last week), because by that time we were hungry and my family was tired of me taking pictures of our food.
For more information about chanterelles, click here.