Cantharellus cibarius: The Ultimate Mushroom Guide
About The Cantharellus cibarius Mushroom
Cantharellus cibarius is a highly prized, fragrant, edible mushroom. It is bright yellow and is found growing on forest floors in summer and autumn. Its similarity to the poisonous jack-o-lantern (Clitocybe illudens, order Agaricales), an orange-yellow fungus that glows in the dark, emphasizes the need for careful identification by the mushroom gatherer.
The chanterelles are grouped together and usually fairly easy to spot. Its flesh is thick, firm, and it has a scent that is somewhat apricot-like.
This variety of chanterelles are one of the most popular and prolific wild mushrooms. There are well over forty chanterelle varieties across North America. While it can be difficult to distinguish between the varieties, generally, chanterelles are very easy to identify.
Other names: Girolle, Gallinacci, Pfifferling (German).
Cantharellus cibarius Identification
The chanterelle usually has a funnel-shaped cap with a diameter of up to 10 cm. It has a wavy irregular margin. Color varies from light yellow to deep egg-yolk yellow. When growing in clumps, as is often the case, the stipes are often curved and occasionally joined together near the base. The veins are very thick and decurrent, extending well down the stem; they are straight near to the stem but forked and more sinuous towards the edge of the cap.
6 to 9 cm on average.
Chanterelles are most frequently found in deciduous forest soils near oak. They often occur under beech trees as well. They are mycorrhizal, which means the fungus has a symbiotic, mutualistic association with the roots of the tree. Chanterelles grow in many countries. They can be found across Canada, the U.S., Europe, the Mediterranean, parts of eastern and southern Australia, and parts of Asia.
Pale yellow to creamy white, sometimes with a slight pinkish tinge.
June to October is when you'll find these and even into November during mild autumns. Often they occur from October right through to the following March in warmer climates.
The gills are ridges that are forked and generally have blunt edges that are the same color as the rest of the mushroom. They are often quite wavy and always decurrent.
Cantharellus cibarius Taxonomy & Etymology
Cantharellus cibarius, the Chanterelle mushroom, which is the type species of the genus Cantharellus and the best known of all of the Cantharellales, was named and described in 1821 by the great Swedish mycologist Elias Magnus Fries, and as there have been no changes in its genus the original scientific binomial name holds to this day.
The generic name Cantharellus is derived from the Latin word cantharus (originally from the Greek 'kantharos') meaning a drinking vessel (usually with handles), a bowl, or a chalice. The Greek noun kantharos was applied to (among other things) an ancient Greek clay vessel which, in turn, was so named for its resemblance to a red-tinged scarab beetle of the same name.
The specific epithet cibarius comes from the Latin 'cibus' meaning food (or rations) - clear evidence that Carl Linnaeus knew his edibles.
Cantharellus cibarius Cooking Notes
Many of the world's great chefs favor Chanterelle mushrooms over all others (even including Morels), because they have not only a wonderful flavor but also a tender, non-crumbling texture.
This mushroom can be used in risotto dishes and omelets, and it certainly has enough flavor to make tasty soups or sauces to be served with chicken or fish dishes.
Recipe: The Best Way to Cook Chanterelle Mushrooms
1 pound fresh chanterelle mushrooms, cleaned and patted dry
4 tablespoons butter
1 or 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
How to cook
To start the cooking process, add the mushrooms to a dry nonstick skillet or well-seasoned cast-iron pan over medium-high heat. Don’t worry about sticking, just let the mushrooms sit on the bottom of the pan until they start to release their moisture. As the mushrooms cook, more and more moisture will escape into the pan. Continue to cook, pushing the mushrooms around the pan with a spatula from time to time to make sure they are all exposed to heat.
Don't add the butter until all the moisture has evaporated from the pan.
After a few minutes, moisture will no longer escape from the mushrooms. Continue to cook until all of the water in the pan has evaporated and the mushrooms once again rest on a dry bottom. Add the butter to the skillet and stir the mushrooms in the pan.
Thinly sliced garlic adds a complementary flavor to the mushrooms.
At this point, add the sliced garlic, if desired. Continue to sauté the mushrooms until they are golden brown and the edges are slightly crisp. Serve the mushrooms by themselves, in an omelet, or spooned over your favorite steak.
Recipe: Wild Chanterelle Mushroom Goulash
For the soy chunks
1 handful of soy chunks
1 tsp stock powder or bouillon
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp lime juice
2 tsp agave syrup
1 cup boiling water
For the goulash
2 small potatoes cubes of 1-2 cm
1 onion chopped
3 cloves garlic finely chopped
2 big handfuls chanterelle mushrooms cut into bite-sized pieces
1 tsp Italian herbs
2 tsp marjoram
1 tbsp sweet paprika
1 tsp smoked paprika
1-2 tbsp tomato puree
2 tsp agave syrup
1 tsp stock powder or bouillon
water enough to almost cover
How to cook
To prepare the soy chunks: Pour the boiling water into a bowl containing the soy chunks, stock powder, soy sauce, lime juice, and 2 tsp agave syrup. Mix to combine and let soak. In the meantime, start cooking the goulash.
Gently fry the onion in some oil on medium-high heat until soft and transparent.
Stir in chopped garlic and proceed to fry another 1-2 minutes.
Add the mushrooms and cook until they start to give off liquid. Yummy mushroom stock!
Add herbs and marjoram, continue to cook until mushrooms have shrunk considerably or almost all the liquid has evaporated. This will take about 5 minutes on high heat.
Turn down the heat, add both sweet and smoked paprika (careful not to burn it!), tomato puree, and the other 2 tsp of agave syrup. Stir for about a minute or two. If things start to catch a bit at the bottom, just add a bit of water.
Finally, add the soaked soy chunks, potatoes, and another tsp of stock powder. Fill up with water until the other ingredients in the pan are almost covered, but not quite.
Bring to a boil. Either pressure cook on high for 5 minutes (after the lid vent is sealed) or simmer until the potatoes are tender and the soy chunks are softened.
Recipe: Chanterelle Mushrooms with Tagliatelle
12 oz tagliatelle or other pasta like fettuccine
8 oz chanterelle mushrooms
2 tbsp olive oil
½ medium onion chopped
4 cloves garlic minced
½ cup white wine such as Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio
¼ cup parsley chopped
½ tsp salt or to taste
½ tsp pepper or to taste
1 cup Parmesan cheese
How to cook
Prep the mushrooms and pasta: Clean the mushrooms and slice them lengthwise. Boil the pasta in salted water according to package instructions and make sure you reserve 1 cup of the pasta cooking water.
Sauté the mushrooms: Add the olive oil to a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the onion until translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add the mushrooms and cook until they begin to shrink and the moisture evaporates about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Finish the dish: Pour in the wine, stir, and let it cook down for about 5 minutes. Add the tagliatelle, and 1/2 cup of the pasta water. Toss everything to coat and add more pasta water if needed. Add the parsley and parmesan, then toss until everything is mixed well..
Serve: Serve topped with grated parmesan cheese and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
Recipe: Pickled Chanterelle Mushrooms
3/4 pound chanterelle mushrooms
1 1/4 cups apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons salt (kosher or another non-iodized salt, divided)
1 bay leaf
3 sprigs fresh thyme (or 1 teaspoon dried thyme)
1/2 teaspoon whole allspice (or spicebush berries Lindera benzoin)
1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
How to make
Clean your chanterelle mushrooms. Ignore the warning you sometimes hear never to use water to clean mushrooms–it's fine to give chanterelles a gentle scrub in clean water to remove any dirt. Slice off any moldy or dark spots.
Heat a large skillet over medium-low heat. Do not add any oil or butter. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently, until the chanterelles begin to release their juices. Because chanterelles are relatively dry mushrooms, this will only take about 5 minutes.
Add 1 teaspoon of the salt. The salt will draw out any liquid left in the mushrooms. Once this starts to happen, add the remaining teaspoon of salt along with the vinegar, water, sugar, thyme, and spices to create the brine. Crank the heat up to high and wait just until the liquid comes to a boil. Give it a stir or two while it's coming to the boil.
Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 5 minutes.
Use a slotted spoon to transfer the chanterelles to a clean glass jar. Pour the brine over. Make sure the mushrooms are completely covered by the brine. Cover tightly.
At this point you have two choices: you can simply transfer the jar to the refrigerator or you can process the jar in a boiling water bath.
To process the jars, screw on the canning lid and process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes (adjust the time if you are canning at high altitude).
Recipe: Chanterelle Mushroom Baked Fondue
2 tablespoons Organic Grass-Fed Butter or Ghee
1 to 2 cups Chanterelle Mushrooms cleaned & coarsely chopped
1 medium shallot finely chopped
1/4 cup dry white white
2 sprigs fresh thyme chopped
1/2 cup Heavy Cream, A2 Pasture Raised + more as needed to thin
6 ounces Cream Cheese (organic, cultured)
6 ounces gruyere cheese shredded
1/4 cup parmesan cheese grated
French bread lightly toasted
How to cook
In a large skillet over medium heat, saute chanterelles and shallots in butter until soft, about 5 minutes.
For a smoother fondue, transfer cooked mushroom/onions to your food processor and pulse to finely chop, then place back in the skillet **
Add wine and fresh thyme, increase heat to medium/high to a simmer. Allow cooking until nearly all the liquid is evaporated.
Add heavy cream and cream cheese, stir while melting.
Add shredded cheese and continue stirring until smooth.
Fondue can be served immediately or topped with additional cheese, reserved cooked mushrooms, and broiled to lightly brown.
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