Mendocino Porcini and Chanterelles with Toasts

Porcini or King Bolete mushrooms

Porcini mushrooms harvested in Mendocino.

When we visit Windy Hollow Farm, my family’s off-the-grid, organic homestead in Point Arena, we love to harvest food from the gardens and cook it straight away. We also love to forage huckleberries in late summer and put them in pancakes and muffins. OK we love to eat the huckleberries. Harvesting the tiny berries from their tight clusters is a pain (my brother refuses to do it), which is why it’s good to have a bunch of kids with smallish fingers motivated by pancakes to find them. We knew the 20-acre property had other wild treasures to discover. With the help of friends who are foraging experts, we recently started identifying king bolete (porcini) and golden chanterelles. Rob Hunter, owner of Uneda Eat restaurant in town, showed me how he usually prepares them and piled the results over toast made from a neighbor’s rustic bread.

Thinly sliced porcini mushrooms just starting to brown in the pan.

Trim or wipe off any dirty areas of the mushrooms. Cut about an inch below the cap, and slice the cap into nice mushroom-shaped slices. Dice the stem.

Heat a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms, dry, in a single layer. Season with salt, cover, and let steam for about 1 minute, until some liquid comes out. Uncover and swirl until the liquid evaporates.

Empty out the middle of the pan. Add a knob of butter and some chopped shallots and garlic, and a pinch of herbs if you like. Let the shallots cook, then stir into the rest of the mushrooms. By this point they should be browning. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve right away over olive-oil rustic bread toasts. Or deglaze the pan with a bit of red wine first.

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