|File:Chanterelle Cantharellus cibarius.jpg|
Cantharellus is a genus with many delicious and popular edible mushrooms. It is a mycorrhizal edible fungus, meaning it forms symbiotic associations with plants, making it very challenging to cultivate. Caution must be used when identifying chanterelles for consumption; lookalikes, such as the Jack-O-Lantern (Omphalotus olearius), can make a person very ill. Still, the golden chanterelle is one of the most recognized edible mushrooms and can be found in Asia, Europe, North America and Australia.
Some species of Cantharellus, such as the yellowfoot chanterelle, have been re-examined and moved to the closely related genus Craterellus.
The genus Cantharellus contains many species known generally as chanterelles, though for the most part the name refers to the most famous species C. cibarius. The following are just a few examples of the more popular edible species.
- C. cibarius: The best known species of this genus is the Golden chanterelle, which is orange or yellow, meaty and funnel-shaped. It has forking gills on the underside, running all the way down its stalk, which tapers down seamlessly from the cap. It has a fruity smell and a mildly peppery taste, and is considered an excellent food mushroom. The European girolle, a variant of C. cibarius, has a thicker stalk and stronger flavor.
- C. subalbidus: In California and the Pacific Northwest of USA there is also the White chanterelle, which looks like the golden chanterelle except for its off-white color. It is more fragile and found in lesser numbers than the golden chanterelle, but can otherwise be treated as its yellow cousin.
- C. formosus: The Pacific golden chanterelle (C. formosus) has recently been recognized as a separate species from the golden chanterelle. It forms a mycorrhizal association with the Douglas-fir and Sitka spruce forests of the Pacific Northwest. This chanterelle has been designated Oregon's state mushroom, due to its economic value and abundance.
Use in food
Chanterelles in general go well with eggs, curry, chicken, pork, fish, beef and veal, can be used as toppings on pizzas, be stewed, marinated, sauteed in olive oil, or used as filling for stuffed crêpes. Of course these are just examples; chanterelles are versatile and can be added as an ingredient to most dishes.
It is a feature of Viennese cuisine.
Preparation and storage
Since the mushrooms hold a lot of water, a good way of preparing them is to "dry sauté" them: after cleaning, the mushrooms are sliced and put in a covered pan over medium heat. When covered in the water they've released, they are removed from the heat and frozen in their own water. Alternatively, the water can be used in sauces or simply discarded.
Chanterelles can also be pickled in brine. Salted water is brought to a boil and pickling spices such as peppercorns, mustard seeds, and thyme are added. The mushrooms are then cooked in this solution for 5–10 minutes before being transferred to sterilized bottles along with some of the liquid. Sliced garlic and dill can be added to the bottles for extra flavour. The remaining liquid forms an excellent stock for making soup. When pickled in this way, chanterelles can last from six to twelve months.
Another storage technique is drying. Mushrooms can be dried with gentle heat in an oven to temperatures of sixty-five degrees Celsius or less. A vacuum process is also practical on large orders. A few hours before final preparation, put dry mushrooms in water which they absorb for returning to nearly original size. Mushrooms can then be used as fresh, and will last indefinitely as dry.
Fresh chanterelles can generally be stored up to ten days in a refrigerator.
The False chanterelle (Hygrophoropsis aurantiaca) has finer, more orange gills and a darker cap. It is edible, but typically a culinary disappointment. The very similar Jack O'Lantern mushroom (Omphalotus olearius) and its sister species (Omphalotus olivascens) are very poisonous, though not lethal. They have true gills (unlike chanterelles) which are thinner, have distinct crowns, and generally do not reach up to the edge. Additionally, the Jack-O-Lantern mushroom is bioluminescent.
- Philpot, Rosl (1965). Viennese Cookery. London: Hodder & Staughton. pp. 139–140.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Cantharellus cibarius.|
- http://www.conservation.state.mo.us/nathis/mushrooms/chanterelles/ as of 2003-07-28
- http://www.mykoweb.com/cookbook/chanterelle.html as of 2003-07-28
- http://plants.montara.com/mushrooms/MListPages/MFamPages/cantharella.html as of 2003-07-28
- http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/Taxonomy/Browser/wwwtax.cgi?mode=Undef&id=36065&lvl=3&keep=1&srchmode=1&unlock as of 2003-07-28
- http://www.mykoweb.com/CAF/species_index.html#C as of 2003-07-28
- http://www.pnwfungi.org/ for photograph of Cantharellus formosus (Pacific Northwest Fungi Featured Fungus Number 7)
- Edible Wild Mushrooms of North America: A Field-to-kitchen Guide (1992) ISBN 0-292-72080-0