The Chanterelle Whisperer

June 26, 2012

My stepson, Damon, has a talent. In the morning, if the temperature is just right, the barometric pressure just so, the wind lightly fluttering in the trees, the mood set, the weather conditions perfect, he will wake up, come downstairs, sip his coffee with a certain twinkle in his eye and calmly ask me, “Do you have a knife and a garbage bag I could borrow?”

On this kind of morning, one which only happens once in a blue moon, on a date I cannot predict, I will sharpen my gaze, raise an eyebrow at him, hand over his requested tools, watch him take off down the road on the old dirt bike from the barn and get the kitchen ready for his return. YES, my stepson knows the exact day… (One too early and they won’t be there. One too late and the snails will have eaten them.) And the exact location… (If you don’t know how to look, you miss them entirely.) He knows just where and when and how to find a veritable gold mine…

Hello, gorgeous!

Yes, my stepson is a Chanterelle Whisperer.

Maybe you’ve seen Chanterelles at Whole Foods or Dean & DeLuca or even at your local farmer’s market. Maybe you’ve even put a handful of them in a Bio Bag and gasped at the checkout as your treats weigh in at $24.00 a pound. But that and this are two different things entirely.

When my stepson returns from his undisclosed and highly top secret location, he brings with him GARBAGE BAGS of them! Wet, plump and fragrant, they are as magical as the forest itself. It takes my neighbor, Kelli, my niece, Antonella, a few enlisted children, and me, hours just to wipe the whole lot clean. Damon’s Chanterelles are so fresh in fact, the main challenge of cooking them is dealing with the massive amounts of water they give off. It’s deceptively difficult.

I have made:

Chanterelle scrambled eggs

Roast chicken and Chanterelles

Chanterelle Vodka

Dried Chanterelles

Chanterelle scrambled eggs

Chanterelle risotto

Chanterelles marinated in wine and herbs

Wilted spinach with Chanterelles

And the list goes on…

In the end, there’s really only one thing you can do with this many of the little beasts: invite everyone you know over for dinner, tell them the little Whole Foods story and the thing about Damon and his twinkly eye, inform them how much these would cost at retail (“I dunno, what…300…400 dollars?!”), and saute them on every conceivable surface of your stove. Little wine. Little butter. Little salt.

I’m not sharing my exact recipe because, like a good Chanterelle patch, some secrets are meant to be kept. If the barometric pressure is just right, you’ll figure it out.


Take your boots off before you come in here!

Please share the love
Better yet, SUBSCRIBE

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Jennifer Solow

Damon? Chanterelles? Discuss.



I’ve never heard of this!


Leave a Comment

{ 1 trackback }

Previous post:

Next post: