Cooking chanterelles

6 Nov

The Östermalms Saluhall in Stockholm is a beautiful food hall dating back to 1888.  It usually appears in guidebooks as a place to visit if you are a foodie visiting Stockholm, and I highly recommend that you go and eat lunch there if you have the chance.  There are numerous food and dining options inside, including some high-end fish eateries specializing in smoked salmon and Swedish shrimps.  At lunch Saluhall bustles with a mix of tourists as well as locals who work in the area.

Currently we rehearse in a studio near Saluhall, and so we made our way there to explore the market after work the other day.  At a vegetable and fruit grocer we found some gorgeous chanterelle mushrooms.  Although not cheap (120SEK for a half kilo — about $18US for a little over a pound), these chanterelles were beautiful.  We bought a little under a half-kilo, and took them home with great excitement and anticipation for dinner.

I’d never cooked chanterelle mushrooms before, but I thought a simple preparation would be best with mushrooms of such fabulous quality.  First, though, the mushrooms have to be cleaned.  Although Swedish people have the luxury of finding wild chanterlle mushrooms growing all over in their forests (various Swedish colleagues have explained to me that they regularly go mushroom picking near their country homes, which seems like a fabulous autumn afternoon activity), they lament having to clean all the chanterelles they’ve picked in the wild.  Luckily for me, David is a very willing and able mushroom cleaner.

I decided to cook the mushrooms with shallots and garlic.  First, I finely chopped 3 shallots and minced 2 cloves of garlic.  In a hot saute pan I drizzled some olive oil (about half a tablespoon).  I sautéed the shallots and garlic in the pan until tender, with some salt.  Then, I put the cleaned mushrooms in the pan; I gently folded the shallots/garlic mixture around the mushrooms, and then I sprinkled some more salt and a few drizzles of olive oil over the mushrooms.  I put the lid on, and brought the heat down to about medium-low.

In about 10 minutes, the mushrooms cook and release the most wonderful aroma and juices.  The chanterelles paired beautifully with a nice pork chop (also from a lovely butcher inside Saluhall), alongside some broccoli (pan-fried with garlic).  The chanterelles were incredibly tender and meaty — the mushrooms release so much flavor and natural juices, it doesn’t need much else.  We had a lovely decadent, Swedish-style/inspired (?) dinner at our new “home” in Stockholm.

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