Of Truffles, Morels & Chanterelles
Fungi, yes, that’s what they are; just like mushrooms. Everybody knows about mushrooms because that’s where our childhood elves live..
Most people have heard of truffles, even if they haven’t eaten them because they are expensive and you need pigs to find them; but not everyone has heard of morels and chanterelles.
Basically morels are funky looking mushrooms to which they are closely related. They have many regional names like dryland fish, sponge mushroom and hickory chickens.
The best known morels are the “yellow morel” or “common morel” (Morchella esculenta); the “white morel” (M. deliciosa); and the “black morel” (M. elata).There are other species as well.
NB: Morels should never be eaten raw as they contain hydrazine toxins that are removed by cooking.
The simplest method of preparing morels is simply sauté in butter.
Or alternatively, make them into schnitzels with breadcrumbs and fry.
You can use them in pasta dishes, as a pizza topping, they compliment asparagus, and in ‘coq au vin’ type chicken recipes (great Dutch Oven recipe for Chicken with Vin Jaune).
You can also visit The Great Morel’s recipe links, there you will find many recipes and things about and to do with morels.
Chanterelles (or girolles) are found throughout Europe, North America, in parts of Asia and Africa.
Cantharellus lateritius, or smooth chanterelle and Cantharellus cibarius (Golden Chanterelle) are the meatier ones of the family. They also come in red (lacking flavour, more useful as a contrast colour) and black which are more useful in sauces, stews, risottos, consommés and stir fries; and they go well with eggs and seafood.
Cooking ideas abound for chanterelles, Creme of Chanterelle Soup, Chanterelle and Leek Tarts, Scallops and Chanterelle Sauce, or simply Sautéed Chanterelles on Toast.
You can find a heap of recipes on Forest Mushroom Recipes. Also on some of the links above.