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Cantharellus cibarius

This pleasantly aromatic fleshy wild mushroom shines like an exotic golden flower when seen from a distance against the drab autumn forest background. Also known as "golden chanterelle" and "egg mushroom," it has a magical appeal for most culinary experts in Europe, United States, and Asia. But all chanterelles are not alike. European and Asian forms are usually about the size of a thumb. In the eastern United States they are the size of a fist. But, ah, in the west they can be as large as two hand spans--from little finger to little finger. Chanterelles weighing as much as two pounds are not uncommon.

Chanterelle -- Click for larger image

Europeans and easterners claim that their varieties are tastier than those from the West Coast and suggest that flavor is more important than thumb size. It has been a rewarding experience to try to resolve this argument. The reader may happily experiment with such savory adventures as are suggested in this book to discover the truth.

Chanterelles seem to be worth their weight in gold. They are golden looking, golden tasting, and golden priced. The cap is fleshy, with wavy, rounded cap margins tapering downward to meet the stem. The gills are not the usual thin straight panels hanging from the lower surface of the cap, as we see in the common store mushroom. Instead, the ridges are rounded, blunt, shallow, and widely spaced. At the edge of the cap they are forked and interconnected. The chanterelle's aroma is variously described as apricot- or peachlike. It is unmistakably different and identifiable.

Chanterelles will reappear in the same places year after year if carefully harvested so as not to disturb the ground in which the mycelium (the vegetative part of the mushroom) grows. There are yearly variations--some years more mushrooms, some less. They fruit from September to February on the West Coast and almost all summer in the east, sometimes coming up in several flushes. We think of them as promiscuous in their plant relationships, because we have found their mycelial threads intertwined with the roots of hardwood trees, conifers, shrubs, and bushes. They enjoy deep, old leaf litter. Chanterelles are seldom invaded by insects. And forest animals do not share our interest in them as food.

There is an off-white species of chanterelle, called C. subalbidus, the white chanterelle, found in California and the Pacific Northwest. They are found in the same localities as C. cibarius and we clean and cook them in the same manner as the golden ones. In general, they are more difficult to clean because of their fragility. They are seldom found in large numbers.

A black relative of the chanterelle, Craterellus cornucopioides, is unfairly called "the trumpet of death." Don't believe it--the black chanterelle is delicious. C. cornucopioides is difficult to spell and to find. Smaller in size than the orange chanterelle, the caps are funnel shaped and hollow all the way down to the base of the stem. It has been well described as a black petunia . Its dark cap, gray underside, and its habit of growing in dark places under shrubs make this secretive mushroom a challenge to find. There are a few equally edible look-alikes.

C. cornucopioides can be halved and easily washed off. The texture is crisp and firm, like the Asian wood ear mushroom, but it is much more tasty. Add it to soups or stews for texture and flavor. Sauté it in butter or chop and simmer in a white sauce, then serve on thin slices of toast. Many people dry these mushrooms thoroughly and grind them into a powder. This is sprinkled on top of foods or added to casseroles or soups for a rich mushroom flavor.

A Word About Purchasing Commercial Chanterelles

More and more golden chanterelles are appearing in marketplaces. They are expensive, so only buy specimens in prime condition. Here is what to look for:

  1. They should have a fragrant odor.
  2. The color should be golden or apricot.
  3. They should not be slimy or have dark, decaying parts.
  4. The gills should not be granular, fragmenting off the fleshy portion of the mushrooms.


This can be a chore. Chanterelles grow exuberantly. The cap margins fold tightly to form crevices from which it is difficult to dislodge debris.

The caps grow around twigs and brambles. Sometimes it is necessary to section portions of larger specimens to get at the foreign material. Use a toothbrush or a nylon mushroom brush to whisk away any surface material. In order to clean small particles of sand or dirt caught between the rounded gills, you must brush them under a slowly running faucet. Do not soak them. In general, the less water the better. Drain them on paper towels. They keep well if allowed to remain in a waxed paper or brown paper bag in the refrigerator until they are cleaned. However, cleaned chanterelles may also be stored in the refrigerator for a few days. They should be loosely arranged in a bowl lined with cloth or paper towels and covered lightly with towels.


Cut them into hunks of a generous size, so that the maximum amount of flavor can be appreciated. Chanterelles are meaty and chewy. One of the best ways to cook them is to slice and sauté them in butter. Cream or half and half and chicken broth are good additions. Chanterelles bake well and retain their flavor after long cooking. Eggs, chicken, pork, and veal harmonize beautifully with them.

After trying many recipes, we still prefer to cook chanterelles by baking them for 20 minutes in chicken broth with coarsely chopped onions. Serve this over rice or pasta. Potatoes will overpower the chanterelle flavor, as will many other vegetables.

Very few people eat chanterelles raw. They are peppery and upsetting, and they can make some people ill. In any case, their finest flavor can only be appreciated when they are thoroughly cooked.


Freeze chanterelles after sautéing with butter and onions. When defrosted, they will retain most of their flavor.

Dried chanterelles lose flavor and the texture of the slices becomes rubbery. A chef recently suggested that dried chanterelles reconstituted in water overnight retain more flavor if the soaking water is included when they are cooked.

To can chanterelles, clean them thouroughly and cut them in big chunks and steam for 20 minutes. Place the pieces in small canning jars and cover them with the liquid from the steaming vessel or boiling water to make up the difference. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon vinegar. Finally, sterilize them for 40 minutes in a pressure cooker at 10 pounds pressure.

Chanterelles can be pickled with various spices and flavorings in vinegar, oil, soy sauce, etc.. They will keep for a week in the refrigerator.

Marinated Chanterelles

Serves 8 as an appetizer

Paul is a well-known Berkeley chef. He recommends that these marinated chanterelles be eaten as appetizers or be heated and drained to serve over pasta.

  • 1 cup peanut oil or light olive oil
  • 1 pound chanterelles, cut into large slices (make sure they are dry--waterlogged mushrooms won't work)
  • 1/4 cup fine wine vinegar, balsamic or fruit vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove, sliced thin
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Pinch of fresh herbs (tarragon, savory, oregano, or marjoram)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

In a sauté pan or skillet, heat the oil until it becomes very hot, then add the chanterelles. Toss them in the pan quickly for 3 to 5 minutes.

Combine all the marinade ingredients. Add the chanterelles and the oil from the pan. Marinate the mushrooms for at least 4 hours in the refrigerator. This will keep for 2 weeks in the refrigerator.

--Paul Johnston

Golden Chanterelle Puffs

Makes about 35 puffs

Chanterelle puffs are a light and elegant party food. Serve them with a white wine such as traminer, riesling, or sauvignon blanc.

  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 pound chanterelles, minced
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick ) butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 3 eggs

Heat the chicken broth in a heavy medium saucepan. Add the chanterelles, butter, and salt and allow to come to a boil. Stir in the flour, mixing constantly until the mixture is smooth and almost leaves the sides of the pan. Remove from the heat. Beat one egg at a time into the mixture.

Drop tablespoons of the dough onto a buttered cookie sheet, spacing the spoonfuls about 2 inches apart. Bake in a preheated 450º oven for 15 minutes or until firm and golden. Cool the puffs on a rack.

--Louise Freedman


Wilted Spinach Salad with Chanterelles

Serves 4 as a first course

For color and taste contrast, golden chanterelles and deep-green spinach are a great combination . Serve on warm plates and garnish with wedges of egg, if you like.

  • 1/2 pound chanterelles, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 5 bacon slices, chopped
  • 1 pound spinach
  • 5 green onions, diced
  • 5 radishes, sliced
  • 3 tablespoons dry red wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 hard-cooked egg, cut in wedges (optional)

Parboil the chanterelles for 3 to 5 minutes. Drain. Marinate the chanterelles in the lemon juice for 15 minutes.

In a large sauté pan or skillet, fry the bacon until crisp. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and reserve. Discard all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat from the pan.

Clean and wash the spinach in several changes of water. Cut away tough stems. Dry the spinach well and mix with the green onions, radishes, and marinated chanterelles.

Heat the bacon fat in the pan. Add the vinegar and bacon and, while still hot, pour it over the spinach mixture and toss. Serve on warm dishes and garnish with wedges of egg.

--Louise Freedman

ALTERNATE MUSHROOMS: Common Store Mushroom, Ear Mushrooms

Mushroom Biscuits

Makes 12 biscuits

This quick biscuit recipe is especially good when fresh chanterelles are in season. Other mushrooms can be substituted.

  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 pound chanterelles, chopped into small pieces
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk

In a sauté pan or skillet sauté the onion in the butter for 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms to the pan and cook for 5 to 7 minutes or until most of the liquid has evaporated. Set aside and let cool.

In a mixing bowl, sift the baking powder, baking soda, and salt with the flour. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and slowly pour in the milk, blending the mixture into a sticky dough. Quickly mix the mushroom mixture into the dough. Do not overmix.

Drop the dough by tablespoons onto a buttered baking sheet or fill buttered muffin pans two-thirds full. Bake 15 to 20 minutes in a preheated 400º oven, or until the biscuits are golden brown.

--Louise Freedman

Artichokes and Chanterelles

Serves 4 as a side dish

A recipe that brings together two West Coast favorites, artichokes and chanterelles. Trimmed small whole artichokes may also be used.

  • 1 pound fresh or thawed frozen artichoke hearts
  • 1/2 pound chanterelles, sliced thin
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1-1/2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • Salt
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Monterey jack or Emmenthaler cheese
  • Few drops of lemon juice

Cook the artichokes in boiling salted water to cover until tender.

Arrange the artichoke hearts in a buttered baking dish. Place the chanterelles on top. Melt the butter in a saucepan, stir in the flour, and add the milk and half and half. Whisk until the mixture starts to thicken. Reduce the heat and add the salt to taste.

Spoon the sauce over the artichokes and chanterelles, sprinkle with the cheese, and bake in a preheated 350º oven for 15 minutes. Quickly squeeze a few drops of lemon juice on top and serve.

--Fred Cherry

ALTERNATE MUSHROOM: Common Store Mushroom

Sautéed Chanterelles, Russian Style

Serves 4 as a side dish

This is a very old method of cooking chanterelles that was passed down to Mary by her Russian mother. Serve this dish with fresh fried oysters, and a simple coleslaw made of finely shredded cabbage and paper-thin sliced onions dressed lightly with salt, olive oil, and vinegar. Most other mushrooms can be used in this recipe except for Asian varieties.

  • 4 bacon slices, cut in 1-1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 pound chanterelles, cut into pieces
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons sweet or sour cream
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Fry the bacon until crisp. Leave the bacon in the pan and remove all but 2 tablespoons of fat. Place the mushrooms in a large saucepan and add water to cover. Bring to a boil, then drain immediately and thoroughly. Add the chanterelles and onion to the bacon and cook about 10 minutes over low heat, stirring often. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add the cream just before serving.

--Mary Keehner

Chanterelles in the Oven

Serves 4 as a side dish

Easily prepared, this can be served as a side dish with baked chicken, a roast, or grilled fish. It can also be used as a sauce for pasta or rice.

  • 1 pound chanterelles, cut in halves or quarters
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup rich chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley

Arrange the chanterelles in a buttered casserole dish. Cover with the chopped onion. Cover the dish and bake in a preheated 350º oven for 20 minutes. Remove the cover, add the broth and cream, and continue to bake without the cover for another 15 minutes. Do not allow the cream to boil. Adjust the flavor by adding salt and pepper. Serve with the parsley sprinkled on top.

--Louise Freedman

ALTERNATE MUSHROOM: Hedgehog Mushroom, Milky Caps

Chanterelles with Chestnuts and Wine

Serves 4 as a side dish

An elegant side dish to serve during the Christmas holidays when chanterelles and chestnuts are fresh on the West Coast. Serve with a prime rib roast.

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 pound chanterelles, sliced
  • 18 fresh chestnuts, boiled or roasted, peeled, shelled and sliced
  • 1/4 cup dry sherry
  • Dash of Tabasco sauce
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Melt the butter in a large saucepan and cook the mushrooms for 10 minutes or until most of the liquid is released from them. Add the chestnuts and cook for 3 minutes. Add the dry sherry and Tabasco sauce, and season with salt and pepper.

--Esther Whited

ALTERNATE MUSHROOMS: Common Store Mushroom, Hedgehog Mushroom

Chicken Breasts with Chanterelles

Serves 4 as a main course

Chanterelles and chicken is a natural combination. Here chicken breasts are poached and cut into small portions. The chanterelles are sautéed and served over the chicken.

  • 2 cups dry white wine
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 parsley sprig
  • 4 single chicken breasts, skinned and boned
  • 1-1/2 pounds chanterelles, chopped
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 3 shallots or 1 medium onion, minced
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts
  • Chopped fresh parsley
  • Salt and pepper to taste

In a large saucepan, bring the wine, garlic, bay leaf, and parsley to a simmer. Add the chicken, cover, and cook until tender, about 15 minutes. When cool enough to handle, remove the chicken and chop into small portions. Strain the liquid into a medium saucepan.

In a sauté pan or skillet, sauté the chanterelles in the butter until tender. Pour the liquid from the mushrooms into the reserved poaching liquid and cook until it becomes slightly thickened.

Add the shallots, pine nuts, chicken, and the chanterelles to the liquid and cook without a cover for 10 minutes. Complete the dish with the parsley, salt, and pepper.

--Jackie Baydo


Chicken Baked with Cream and Chanterelles

Serves 4 as a main course

Present this dish with fresh vegetables such as green beans or broccoli, rice, and a fine white wine such as chardonnay.

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 pound chanterelles, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped shallots or green onions
  • 1 tablespoon marjorum
  • 1/4 cup dry white vermouth or dry sherry
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • One 2-1/2-pound chicken, cut into serving pieces and skinned
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Chopped fresh parsley

Melt the butter in a sauté pan or skillet and add the chanterelles, lemon juice, shallots, and vermouth. Cook over low heat for 20 minutes. Add the cream and cook 5 minutes more.

Season the chicken lightly with salt and pepper. Place the chicken in a shallow ovenproof dish. Pour the sauce over the chicken and cook for 30 to 45 minutes in a preheated 350º oven. Baste occasionally with the pan juices. Adjust the seasoning. Add parsley and serve.

--Robert Mackler

ALTERNATE MUSHROOMS: Hedgehog Mushroom, Milky Caps

Chicken with Chanterelles and Marsala

Serves 4 as a main course

  • 4 single chicken breasts, skinned and boned
  • 6 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Asian sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon mirin or dry sherry
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 to 3/4 pound chanterelles,sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup dry Marsala wine
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Marinate the chicken breasts in 2 tablespoons of the peanut oil, soy sauce, sesame oil, mirin, and garlic for 2 hours.

In a sauté pan or skillet, cook the mushrooms in 2 tablespoons of the oil slowly to cook off their liquid; set aside. Mix the paprika into the flour. Drain the chicken and roll it in the flour mixture. In another sauté pan or skillet, sauté the chicken in the remaining oil, browning on both sides for 3 minutes. Add the chicken broth, Marsala wine, and the mushrooms. Cover and cook over low heat for 20 minutes or until the chicken is tender. Add pepper to taste.

--Pat George

ALTERNATE MUSHROOMS: Common Store Mushroom, Hedgehog Mushroom, Milky Caps

Veal with Chanterelles

Serves 4 as a main course

Veal is a superb accompaniment for the delicate flavor of chanterelles.

  • 8 veal scallops
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons minced green onions
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2/3 cup beef broth
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1-1/2 cups half and half
  • 1/2 pound chanterelles, sliced

Gently pound the veal scallops. In a sauté pan or skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter and sauté the scallops until both sides are brown.

Transfer the scallops to an ovenproof dish and place in a 200º oven to keep warm. Add the onions to the pan and sauté for about 1 minute. Pour in the wine and beef broth, and boil for about 5 minutes. Mix the cornstarch and water in a cup. Add to the wine mixture along with the half and half. Cook until the mixture is slightly thickened.

In the meantime, sauté the chanterelles in the remaining 2 tablespoons of the butter in a small skillet. This should take 3 to 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and veal to the sauce mixture in the sauté pan and heat thoroughly. Serve with rice.

--Candice Mick

ALTERNATE MUSHROOMS: Hedgehog Mushroom, Oyster mushroom, Morels

Veal Chops with Chanterelles

Serves 4 as a main course

The Italian name for this dish is CAFfi del capitano ai funghi, "captain's moustache with wild mushrooms," because the curved bones of the veal chops are thought to resemble moustaches.

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 pound chopped chanterelles
  • 4 loin veal chops with curved bones trimmed of fat
  • 1 tablespoon butter or more if needed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or more if needed
  • 4 minced shallots or green onions
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • Minced fresh parsley

Place the water, butter, and the juice of 1/2 lemon in a large saucepan. When the water begins to boil, immediately add the chanterelles and simmer 5 minutes. Remove the chanterelles with a slotted spoon. Reduce the cooking liquid until the mushroom flavor is intense.

Sprinkle the chops with juice from the remaining lemon half. Melt the butter with the olive oil in a sauté pan or skillet. Sauté the chops until golden brown on both sides. Remove the chops to a warm platter.

Put the chanterelles in the sauté pan. Add the shallots and the reduced cooking liquid, salt, and pepper. Toss and cook a few minutes. Add the cream and cook down until thickened. Then add the parsley, toss, and serve the sauce over the chops.

--Mary Etta Moose, Washington Square Bar and Grill


Pork Loin Chops with White Wine

Serves 4 as a main course

Pork loin chops, chanterelles, and a spicy wine such as a gewurztraminer make this an outstanding dish.

  • Four 1/2-inch-thick pork loin chips
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 or more garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons butter or more
  • 1/2 to 1 pound chanterelles, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parlsey
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • Salt and pepper to taste

In a sauté pan or skillet, brown the pork chops in the olive oil. Add the garlic the last few minutes. Remove the garlic and chops to a warm dish and drain the excess fat. Melt the butter in the same pan and add the chanterelles, sautéing lightly for 7 minutes. Add the chops and garlic, parlsey, wine, salt and pepper to taste. Simmer covered until the chops are tender, about 1 hour. Serve with rice, mashed potatoes, or noodles.

--Carol Gass

ALTERNATE MUSHROOMS: Common Store Mushroom, Hedgehog Mushroom

Pork and Chanterelles with Tomato Sauce

Serves 4 as a main course

Excellent when served over linguine or fettuccine, with a side dish of fresh vegetables.

  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup French bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • Four 1-inch-thick pork chops
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon mild vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 pound chanterelles, chopped
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup dry vermouth

Mix together the Parmesan cheese, bread crumbs, and parsley. Trim the fat from the chops. Dip the chops in the egg and then in the Parmesan cheese mixture. Brown on both sides. Place the chops in a baking dish.

Heat the oil and butter in a sauté pan or skillet. Cook the chanterelles for 5 minutes. Add the tomato sauce and cook 7 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper.

Pour the mushrooms and sauce over the chops in the baking dish. Add the vermouth. Bake in a preheated 350º oven until tender, about 1 hour.

--Robert Mackler

ALTERNATE MUSHROOMS: Hedgehog Mushroom, Shaggy Parasol Mushroom

Chanterells and Prawns in Cream

Serves 4 as a main course or 6 as a first course

This delicious dish is highlighted by complex flavors. Serve it as a soup or over sesame spiral pasta or brown rice as a main course.

  • 1 pound chanterelles, cut in bite size
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 20 large prawns, shelled, deveined, and split in half lenghwise
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions
  • 1/2 cup Dubonnet
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 5 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • Chopped fresh parsley
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

In a sauté pan or skillet, sauté the chanterelles in the butter until only a small amount of liquid remains. Set aside.

Dust the prawns with a mixture of flour, salt, and pepper. Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan or skillet and sauté the prawns until pink and opaque. Drain on paper towels.

Put the green onions, Dubonnet, wine, lemon juice, cream, and broth in a saucepan and heat slowly for 5 to 7 minutes. Do not let the mixture boil. Remove from the heat and combine with the chanterelles and prawns. Garnish with parsley and Parmesan cheese.

--Tom Wishing and Kathleen Cecil

ALTERNATE MUSHROOMS: Hedgehog Mushroom, Milky Caps

Copyright © 1987, 2000 by Louise Freedman and the Mycological Society of San Francisco
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