[UPDATED] Northern Florida Chanterelles from Jesse O’Reilly

UPDATE:  Just confirmed with that Jesse met Michael at his Apron’s Cooking School class in Tallahassee in April. Gotta love that.

A beautiful thing happened the other day. On Jul 14, 2011, at 6:21 PM, Michael received an email from chef and forager Jesse O’Reilly including pictures of some gorgeous A1 chanterelles, part of an 8 pound batch, and an offer to send us some to try.  Of course like any sane person, let alone a chef, his answer was “YES YES YES!!!!!” And of course they were amazing, and landed on toast with soft scrambled guinea hen eggs from Lake Meadow Naturals, thyme, and shaved piave vecchio. An earthy, meltingly delicious bite.

According to Wikipedia, though records of chanterelles being eaten date back to the 1500s, they first gained widespread recognition as a culinary delicacy with the spreading influence of French cuisine in the 1700s, where they began appearing in palace kitchens. For many years, they remained notable for being served at the tables of nobility. Chanterelles are common in northern parts of Europe and North America, including Mexico, in Asia including the Himalayas, and in Africa including Zambia. They tend to grow in clusters in mossy coniferous forests, but are also often found in mountainous birch forests and among grasses and low-growing herbs. In central Europe, the golden chanterelle is often found in beech forests among similar species and forms. Jesse kindly answered my (immediate!) quest for answers to his relationship with this special mushroom, typically harvested wild in the springtime.  Here is his response below. The next question is… When do we get more?  I think they are 86 in the kitchen right now! Continue reading