Thursday, November 18, 2010

Well, Hello There Chanterelle

In Charleston, we lived a few houses from the Ashley River.  For those of you who aren't up to speed on your geography, Charleston is where the Ashley and Cooper Rivers come together to form the Atlantic Ocean.  At least that's what native Charlestonians told me.

In any case, our back yard in the summer (which seemed to be from the end of February to the beginning of December) was a breeding ground for some very odd looking fungi.  They were orangish in color and very misshapen.  I spent many mornings pulling them up and discarding them so our dalmatian, Cooper, (yes, he was named for the river) wouldn't eat them.  I didn't want my little boys to mess around with them either.  So it was that each morning I went out before the rest of the household woke up.  The more I discarded, twice as many seemed to come back.  They would pop up all day long.

It so happened that one of the boys'  best friends had a rather noted chef for a father.  One morning noted chef dropped off his son for a play date.  I invited him in for a cup of coffee before he headed down on the peninsula to his noted restaurant.  As we sat in the family room sipping coffee and discussing education, politics and food, the chef suddenly stood up and exclaimed "holy cow you have a yard filled with chanterelles".  I jumped up expecting to see a herd of cattle--or at least a cow or two--grazing among the magnolias.  What I saw were those scary orangish fungi.  "Oh, don't worry!  I'll get them pulled up and disposed of before I let the boys out."  "WHAT?!!"  Noted chef was a little red in the face.  Before I could grab a bag and charge out into the yard, he stepped around me and charged into the yard himself.  "You've been disposing of the chanterelles?"  Well, yes I had been.  As far as I knew, they were toadstools of some variety.  

To make an already long story a little shorter, noted chef left that morning with the orange treasures in a Piggly Wiggly bag and served them to delighted diners that evening at dinner.  He also came back a number of times to harvest more as they popped up.

Now that I'm a savvy chanterelle gatherer, I put them on the table every chance I get. 

I gathered these at Costco.

Chanterelle Salad

4 ounces chanterelles 
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup dry white wine
juice of 1/2 lemon
flat leaf parsley

Use a mushroom brush to clean the chanterelles
In a large saute pan, melt the butter and add the olive oil
Saute the chanterelles over medium heat for about four minutes
Add salt and pepper to taste and the wine
Continue to cook for about two more minutes, or until most of the liquid has cooked down.
Remove from heat.
Squeeze the lemon juice over the chanterelles
Sprinkle with chopped parsley

Chill and serve



  1. What a great story!! I loved that the chanterelles were packed up in a Piggly Wiggly bag!!! You can't get more southern that Piggly Wiggly!!

  2. Love your story!! I would have thought those were cattle too. lol
    Have a great day.
    Ladybug Creek

  3. What a wonderful story!!! We do grow in knowledge all the time, don't we? Those little buggers and expensive. You were living on a virtual gold mine at the time!!!

  4. That is hysterical. Thanks for giving me a chuckle with my morning coffee!

  5. Hi,

    Lovely salad...:)


  6. HOLY Cow is right, i never heard of chanderelles and you had all that good stuff in your yard. the ones you gathered from the store make for a beutiful photo

  7. I'm a day late and a dollar short, But I made it. I loved your story and your photos keep getting better and better. Now on to your question Yes, yes and no. The camel is drinking real water from a filthy pond.

  8. What a funny story. It's nice that someone can identify them for you, otherwise who is going out in their yard to pick mushrooms? lol! We used to go morel picking when I was a child in Michigan. The first mushroom that I would eat as a kid. This dish looks wonderful, I'll have to look for some Chanterelles!

  9. What a great and fun story. What are the chances you would invite just the right person over who would see and know that they were!!!! I love it, and they do look delicious!

  10. What a fantastic post; you got me all excited!And that salad looks so so good. Will look for chanterelles at my next visit to Costco.

  11. What an amazing story!! Oh, too bad you weren't blogging back then and didn't get shots of them in your yard, that would have been so cool! They do look orange!! I don't know if I've ever seen any, are they more expensive and fancy than other kinds, like portobellas and such?

  12. What a wonderful story. I can only imagine how his heart leapt when he discovered these little treasures.

  13. That's funny! Sounds like something I'd do. I'm sure they're good but they look scary. lol

  14. How amazing is that!!! I can't imagine having edible mushrooms in my yard. I love just love to eat them. Carla

  15. This is very unique. I have read in Laura Child's Tea Murder Mysteries about Charleston. She speaks of the the area alot. I have never made anything like this! Very interesting!

  16. Oh My Heart----I remember Piggly Wiggly stores....That was a blast from the past for sure...

    I've never heard of Chanterelle's--but they sound delicious...

    Great story!!!

  17. LOL...I'm sure I would have done the same thing! Not being a mushroom expert, I prefer to find mine at the grocery. :)

  18. What a wonderful story. Isn't it great to discover treasures like these growing in our backyards? I probably would have done the exact same thing as you though...I'm glad that your friend was able to lead you in the right direction! Thank you for sharing, dear. I hope you have a wonderful Friday!

  19. And where do you get a mushroom brush? I haven't been able to find one, so I just use a damp paper towel.

  20. I awarded you stylish blogger award

  21. Okay, what a story! It would be my luck I would gather poisonous toad stools instead. LOL! That being said, I am thankful that you got this batch at Costco. No use taking chances. ;-) And they look delicious! But I love a good mushroom, and you know what they say, a mushroom by any other name is still a mushroom (and my stomach agrees)... though I think I prefer the term "chanterelle" as it just has more punch!


    Sheila :-)


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