Olivia Dish

Mushrooms Now and Then

In Cookbooks, Homemade on August 9, 2010 at 3:21 pm

Chanterelles, bacon and farro, oh my

It’s been a couple of months since my journey to Mushroom Mountain, and my patience is wearing thin. I have containers of mushroom matter sitting around my kitchen, but nary an oyster mushroom in sight. Under a tree, my inoculated shitake logs are about a month into their six-month process.

Shitake, wherefore art thou?

Fortunately, Mr. Whit DeSpoon showed up at lunch with a bag full of freshly-foraged chanterelles, just for me.

“They’re pretty dirty,” he said, scrunching his eyebrows together and frowning. I didn’t care. I couldn’t wait to clean and clean and clean them. I had mushrooms now.

I did have to clean and clean. I contemplated using the vacuum cleaner. Instead, I defied all advice and used ample amounts of water–a little less flavor, I reasoned, in exchange for a little less grit.

Chanterelles sauteeing in butter

Then, first batch I sauteed in butter, added a dash of heavy cream, and served over pasta–the way Mr. DeSpoon first served chanterelles to me.  It’s a perfect dish, because the chanterelles really stand out.

Adding cooked farro into the mix

The next batch, I wanted to try something different. I thought about what I had around the house. I diced a slice of the world’s best bacon, browned it, then added the chanterelles to the pan for a quick saute. After a couple of minutes, I added some cooked piccolo farro, a dash of cream, and simmered it a bit to combine the flavors.

Clean...but too clean?

It was good too–but the chanterelles were a tad overwhelmed by the bacon and nutty grain.  Still, I think it’s worth trying a few more variations–not just sticking with the pasta–and I have my eye on a  the recipe for chanterelles on toast that Scott Peacock included in his cookbook The Gift of Southern Cooking.

Perhaps if Mr. DeSpoon manages to rustle up a few more chanterelles for me, we can munch on our toast and contemplate the state of my oyster mushrooms, which I’m attempting to grow on coffee grounds.  I thought they would have appeared by now, though various blogs assure me that oyster mushrooms grown this way tend to show up just when you’ve lost all hope. Which I would say is right about yesterday.

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