Out here in California, our chanterelle mushroom season is just beginning. It’s an exciting time each year, not only because chanterelles are so delicious, but also because so far no one has been able to cultivate them. Because of this, the only way to enjoy the delightful chanterelles is to wait for nature to take its course each year.
I went foraging for chanterelles for the first time last week. No, I won’t tell you where. No mushroom forager worth her salt (even a totally amateur one like me) would tell you! Instead, I’ll show you one my favorite ways to prepare them.
I first sauté them on the stove to rid them of some excess liquid (a good trick for cooking any mushrooms), then mix with eggs and fromage blanc (ricotta will do in a pinch), and, finally, bake into a simple tart shell. You can make your own tart crust, or buy one in the refrigerated section at your local grocery store. If you can’t find chanterelles, you can substitute other mushrooms. Just make sure you use flavorful ones like shitake, portabella, or cremini – stay away from the bland white button ones.
I love to flavor chanterelles with a French blend of herbs called “fines herbes” or good herbs in English. It’s a mix of chives, parsley, tarragon, and chervil, and is a classic flavoring in many traditional French dishes. You can make this spice combination fresh, however that’s not always practical since tarragon and chervil are not always available in stores (not to mention buying all those herbs separately can be a little expensive). So, an alternative is to pick up a jar of Spice Islands® Fines Herbes, which contains all the herbs in the classic blend.
Chanterelle & Fromage Blanc Tart with Fines Herbes
- 1 tart or pie dough, large enough to use in 9” tart pan
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 12 oz chanterelles
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced onions
- 1 clove of garlic, chopped
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup cream
- 1 teaspoon of salt plus a pinch more for the mushrooms 4oz fromage blanc (or ricotta)
- 1/2 tablespoon dried Spice Islands® Fines Herbes
- Preheat the oven to 400F. Line a 9” tart pan with a removable bottom with the dough. Set aside
- Brush the dirt off the chanterelles, slice off the bottom part of the stems, then tear the mushrooms into large pieces. Don’t be afraid to rinse the chanterelles if they are very dirty. You will cook off the excess liquid before baking them anyway. And slightly soggy chanterelles are preferable to dirty ones.
- Place a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the olive oil and onions and cook them until translucent. Add the chanterelle chunks and sauté until they start to release the liquid. Turn the heat down slightly, add the garlic, a pinch of salt, and continue to cook until the liquid has evaporated. Transfer the cooked mushrooms to a bowl and let cool slightly, for about 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in another bowl, beat together the eggs, cream, and salt, just until homogenous. When the chanterelles have cooled down a bit, pour this egg mixture over them, stir in the fines herbes. This is your tart filling. Pour it carefully into the prepared tart pan; make sure the mushrooms are distributed evenly. Add fromage blanc in large dollops all over the tart.
- Bake the tart at 400F at 45 minutes, until the filling sets, the top and crust turn golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool for at least 20 minutes before serving.
- To make this a complete meal, serve with a side of green salad. Sprinkling a pinch of Fines Herbes into your simple salad dressing will pair it even better with the tart.
Cooking time: 45 minute(s)
Meal type: breakfast