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Nathan Guggenheimer, chef de cuisine at DB Bistro Moderne, unearths his passion for Haida Gwaii chanterelle mushrooms, which he discovered while cooking in the Queen Charlotte Islands.
While you can generally find chanterelles at local markets throughout the year, the Haida Gwaii variety, available in late August and early September, stands out. “They’re two inches tall and under an inch in diameter and very meaty and super soft.” Use all your senses when selecting the mushrooms. “As with all chanterelles, you’re looking for that golden apricot hue and a fresh, fruity smell.” At the local markets, he tracks down Larry Moran, who usually works with Hannah Brook Farms at the Trout Lake Farmer’s Market (Eatlocal.org).
“Butter and mushrooms are the best pan I can think of.” Chanterelles act like a flavour sponge to which Guggenheimer adds complementary flavours like sweet Chilliwack corn, shallots, and garlic. “Start by foaming butter, then hit the mushrooms with a pinch of salt to draw the moisture out. Cook them with shallots and garlic.” For how long? “You can tell the doneness of the mushroom by touching the stem—it should give only the slightest bit of resistance.” At this stage Guggenheimer adds Road 13 Chenin Blanc, “because you need a little bit of acid or else it’s going to be too rich.” Once the butter and wine have emulsified he adds two ladles of chicken stock and lets the ingredients braise. As it reduces, he folds in more butter and chills the mixture to room temperature. It serves as the base for chanterelle and snapper en papillote, a sumptuous late-summer dish.
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