The Hills Are Alive

Chanterelles in Blue Bowl

…with the shapes of Chanterelles. And more importantly, the taste.

I left behind several times the number I collected yesterday. I brought home way more I could stack in this bowl for display. We cooked them all and ate about half last night; the rest will grace our leftovers.

Heck, I may go back today and get another batch. Even if they weren’t delicious (and believe me, they are) for the color alone, I’d add them to our usual meals from the white and brown food groups.

Last night, to the brown and white beef stroganoff with rice and bean sprouts, we had beets and beet greens from the garden (rich green and royal purple), bright yellow corn on the cob from the Floyd Community Market, and sauteed chanterelles with their floppy-eared day-glo saffron earthiness.

I admit this was one of the first meals I’ve ever been tempted to take a picture of. I resisted. It was just too hard to do with the fork in my hand that I refused to let go of while there was food on my plate.

There is no shortage of recipes for these shrooms, which hold up nicely in texture and taste to cooking, not so much, apparently, to drying.

Try to pick them as cleanly as possible (cut w a knife instead of plucking from the ground) to avoid unnecessary wiping with a paper towel or brushing with a soft toothbrush to remove grit and forest detritus–unless you want additional extra texture and roughage of twigs, leaf fragments and bug parts.

Chanterelles (there are several species) are distinctive especially for their gills that run down onto the stem, then fade away. Here’s the google images aggregate that gives you some idea of the variability.

There is quite a bit of difference between the eastern US and western chanterelles in size, and some say, in taste.

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About

Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

3 Comments on “The Hills Are Alive

  1. Gorgeous, Fred, can you e-mail me a few chanterelles? methinks they would be grand with roast lamb or in an omelet.

  2. Yum! Had chanterelles for the very first time last week at Mickey G’s. Chanterelles with a shallot sauce over linguine. I’d almost dare to say that they rival morels. Perhaps not quite, but they were absolutely delicious!

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