I first had chanterelles a couple of decades ago at a cooking workshop. I was hooked. But are they ever hard to find, so much so that I began to think they were myth. So imagine my surprise when I wandered over to the vegetable aisle in the grocery store, and there they were, staring at me, saying, "you've been waiting long enough, dontchya think?"
I bought ‘em.
But what to do with them? It’s too hot to make a risotto or creamy soup or stew, but a frittata is a perfect foil for these golden mushrooms.
Chanterelles don’t take much cleaning: a quick brush, maybe under water if the dirt is stubborn, pick out the sticks, and they’re ready to go. Saffron, garlic, and butter are chanterelles’ friends. Think French cooking.
Frittata aux Chanterelles
- 500g chanterelles
- half a large red onion or one small one
- 3 or more garlic cloves (if small, more, if very large, maybe only 2)
- 8g butter
- 1/4 tsp saffron
- dried or fresh thyme
- dried parsley
- powdered turmeric
- 2T olive oil
- 7 egg whites
- 1 egg yolk
- 40g light cream cheese
- 20g parmesan, grated
Preheat oven to 425F.
Chop onion and garlic into fine dice. Melt half the butter and half the olive oil in a medium-sized frying pan over low to medium heat. Add the onions, half the saffron, and a pinch of the thyme. You should not hear the onions frying; instead they need to saute gently until translucent.
Put the diced garlic on top, then the rest of the butter. Add the chanterelles on top of those. And then stir. Cook gently until all the liquid has evaporated.
Meanwhile, break the eggs into a bowl. Add the cream cheese, rest of the saffron, a bit more thyme, parsley, about five small dashes of turmeric (I kind of eyeball the herbs based on what I know I like), and beat with a whisk until the cream cheese is just about incorporated. I can never get it fully beaten in and always have bits floating around. Still works though. Cream cheese adds creaminess without the fat content, calories, and special expense of whipping cream.
Add the rest of the olive oil to the mushroom mixture. Let it heat for a few seconds, then pour over the eggs. Turn off the stove heat and sprinkle the parmesan over the top of the eggs. Put the pan in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes until it’s puffed and the top is golden brown. If the eggs are done before the top turns golden, put it under the broiler for a couple of minutes.
A couple of notes: If you’re used to restaurant-levels of fat in your food, this will seem like not enough fat. If you’re on a low-fat diet, this will seem like borderline too much. I didn’t use all butter because of the calories and saturated fat grams, but I used enough to get the flavour. Plus there’s an old trick of mixing oil and butter to prevent the butter from burning. And if you’re used to normal North American levels of salt, this may seem bland. But there is enough salt in the cheeses to flavour this dish nicely, and if you’re watching your salt intake, this will taste perfect. All this is to say that everything is relative. It’s what you’re used to in your normal diet as to whether a recipe tastes too salty or bland, too fatty or not enough.