It has recently come to my attention that I love toast. More specifically, chanterelle toast. As the trees begin to lose their leaves and the days grow shorter, I have found that it is the ultimate comfort food. These mushrooms are perfect on toast, as their nutty, earthy, umami flavors get even more pronounced after they’re browned and crisped. The golden chanterelle is considered to be one of the absolute best fungi in the kitchen, and nowhere more-so than in Sweden.
Few things make a Swede happier than stumbling upon a troop of chanterelles in a forrest. Foraging for chanterelles can be a little trickier than other mushrooms because they like to grow on moss hidden under logs and branches. This only makes hunt more fun! But beware: they can be mistaken for false chanterelles that are more dull in colour, with loose gills and the potential to be poisonous; that’s why it’s important to forage with someone who knows what they’re doing. Luckily, chanterelles also available in most supermarkets throughout Scandinavia in autumn.
We enlisted the culinary skills of Swedish chef Albin Blomkvist to teach us how to make the perfect chanterelle toasts:
100 g butter
100 g cream
Preparation is an important step in this recipe. When you begin cooking, everything will go quite fast. Start by cleaning your mushrooms, brushing away any dirt and halving them. This is optional, depending on the size of your mushrooms. Want to know the secret to crispy chanterelles? Don’t wash them. They soak up water like a sponge!
After prepping the mushrooms, mince shallots, cut chives, and measure up butter and cream according to taste.
Make sure to have your bread already toasted for when you finish your cooking. Your mushrooms are going to want somewhere to lay down and a nice bed of toasted sourdough is just the place. When you feel like you have all your ingredients under control and within arm’s reach, it’s time to start cooking.
Start off by melting and then browning butter in the bottom of your pan. You want to get it to the point where it’s just stopped bubbling and your kitchen starts smelling nice and toasty. Make sure you keep an eye on the pan at all times because it’s easy to burn the butter if you get distracted. Chanterelles, like many mushrooms, are quite absorbent, so you’re going to need more butter than you think. Keep adding butter until you feel like like your mother would say something, and then add a bit more.
While cooking anything with the intent to caramelize, you should never crowd your pan. Make sure that every mushroom in the pan has surface contact with the bottom. Turn the mushrooms in the pan to make sure that the most flat side is facing down: this way the cut side will brown nicely.
The biggest secret to frying mushrooms is to not do anything for the first minute or so. Patience is key here; it can be the difference between crunchy chanterelles and soggy ones. Eventually, when you see the mushrooms have started to caramelize around the edges, give your pan a good stir. Repeat the light stirring until your mushrooms are nice and tender, making sure to caramelize every possible surface.
Add minced shallots to the pan. They will only need about 30 seconds to turn translucent and soft.
Your mushrooms are basically done at this point and you don’t want to cook them for much longer, so try to work quickly for the following steps.
Add a small dash of cream to the bottom of the pan. This will help deglaze the pan, a technique used to loosen up all that good caramelized flavor that’s stuck to the bottom of the pan. It will also give the mushrooms a creamy, rich texture. Let the cream come up to a simmer, scrape everything off the bottom of the pan, then let it sit for a minute or two, reducing and infusing with the flavour of the mushrooms.
Take the mushrooms out of the pan and put directly on your toasted bread.
Now season your dish. Taste for salt, acidity, and bitterness. A small splash of apple cider vinegar helps to freshen everything up after the butter and cream. In the case that you accidentally burnt your butter, some more cream will smooth out the bitterness.
Adding a sprinkle of cut up chives is a great way to give your mushrooms a fresh note. Other flavors that also go well are parsley for more earthy notes, and thyme for a more herbaceous feel. Depending on how you serve your mushrooms you might want to add any variety of herbs or seasonings; go with what you like.
Want to learn about foraging? Here’s our ultimate guide to foraging in the Swedish Forest.