Summertime in Canada heralds the much-anticipated chanterelle season, or in common kitchen vernacular, the hard-working beauty of the mushroom world. The golden-hued wild mushrooms that some experts say are singularly spectacular when they’re from Canada, are versatile and delicious, with a fragrant, earthy aroma. We asked three chefs what they’ll be doing with the beauties this summer.
Robert Clark, Vancouver
“There’s nothing better than chanterelles simply cooked in butter, lemon juice, white wine and thyme” says Robert Clark, a veteran Vancouver chef who’s preparing to open The Fish Counter, an Ocean Wise-certified sustainable seafood concept. He hopes to use the mushrooms as part of a warm weather go-to side dish to accompany his many fish preparations. “I’m still playing around with what I’ll do with them exactly, but this simple recipe is a strong contender.” And, Clark has exceptional choice given that British Columbia, and the Queen Charlotte Islands in particular, produces clean, sturdy specimens.
Dave Smart, Nova Scotia
At Wolfville, N.S.’s Front & Central, chef Dave Smart will prepare a summer salad of sautéed chanterelles with pea purée, farro, micro basil, crispy prosciutto and Parmesan salt, finished with a vinaigrette of camelina oil (derived from the Camelina sativa oilseed) and apple cider vinegar (it will sell for between $12 and $14). For Smart, the best part is that the mushrooms are foraged in nearby woods by a local forager who keeps the harvest locations top secret.
Brad Long, Toronto
At Toronto’s Cafe Belong, Brad Long will be grilling Bison steaks with sautéed chanterelles (mid $40 range). He’ll feature them for brunch alongside an egg main that will roll out each weekend during the season. “I love the unique perfume that chanterelles give when they are dry and perfect from the forest. They always sell well, and once they start coming in, I use them everywhere and anywhere as they boost other flavours thanks to their umami,” says Long. “They are a gorgeous colour and, like everything that has a season, the anticipation has built up from the wait since last season.”