Orange Coast Magazine

Taste of O.C. | Priscilla Mayfield on food


Cooking and eating with the seasons is all well and good, if you can stand the melancholy that descends when a fresh favorite inevitably passes into see-you-next-year status. Right now, it's chanterelles.

Last year, I think I ran across fresh chanterelles a single time at Costco, and of course I bought them. The golden-tangerine wild mushrooms, a late-fall treat, are little seen in my regular shopping rounds. Or, were—this year, they transcended special-occasion status, since they seemed to be there all through November. Then, Jay Selman, who’s sort of a silent member of the James Beard Foundation Award-winning Grape Radio consortium responsible for Orange Coast’s “The Wine Dudes” blog, asked me if I’d seen the especially nice specimens at Grower’s Direct. I had not, but that was easily corrected when I purchased chanterelles at both the Costa Mesa and Aliso Viejo locations. At $13.99 a pound, they were more expensive than Costco’s $9.99, but either price is a stone bargain, considering they’re usually in the $20-plus range.

Selman says he likes to roast them, and I have to agree that that’s a great method. Trimmed and cut into pieces if very large, put into a vessel that just contains them, seasoned with salt and pepper, then into a 400-degree oven for half an hour or so—longer won’t hurt, and stir every now and then—they need little else. The idea is to get the mushrooms to give up their considerable liquid, which then evaporates, leaving concentrated flavor and tender results. At this point, they can be refrigerated, to be used wherever you would want to add mushrooms. If serving right away, stir in a couple of tablespoons of minced shallot and some butter, and check salt and pepper. Or, try the classic Italian funghi treatment of a little chopped garlic and a handful of chopped parsley, drizzled with olive oil.

Seriously—provided you salt and pepper them adequately, it’s hard to go wrong. The time is now, though, if you’re lucky enough to get some of the last we’ll see until next October. Bad weather in the Pacific Northwest has curtailed the 2013 chanterelle season. But don’t hesitate to dry-roast regular cultivated mushrooms, brown or white, the same way. Or use oyster or other fresh mushrooms you can find at O.C. farmers markets. During weekend cooking, do a pound or two to have fridge treasure for the whole week.

Now we just need Jay Selman to recommend a wine that goes with rest-of-the-year mushrooms.


Leave a comment:

· Subscribe to comments
Be the first to comment here.

OC Guides


OC Guides
  • Best of 2014: New York Pizza

    Seal Beach’s A Slice of New York makes pizza the way it’s supposed to be—with a thin, chewy crust that oozes cheese and can be enjoyed the New Yawker way: folded in half.
    142 Main St., 562-493-4430,

    Read More
  • Best of 2014: Bird-Watching

    When the throngs of beachgoers are too much, spend a day with the birds. Here, with the wind whipping off the ocean and herons, egrets, ducks, and more soaring above, you'll get a chance to be the amateur ornithologist you never knew you wanted to be. Free
    3842 Warner Ave., Huntington Beach, 714-846-1114,

    Read More
  • Best of 2014: Green Cleaners

    Sold from her website and a refitted retro travel trailer, these earth-safe cleaning products are Marilyn Nowak of Coto de Caza's propriety formulas. Products for laundry, surfaces such as glass and wood - even an ecological drain cleaner - all have dispenser bottles and bulk refills $8 to $48
    Resuming in September at Great Park Farmer's Market, Sand Canyon Avenue and Marine Way, Irvine, 949-292-1648,

    Read More
  • Food Lovers Guide - Vanilla

    Plain vanilla extract is fine for large-batch baking, but vanilla snobs like to play with other varieties, including the skinny, leathery beans. We won’t delve into the classic Mexican-versus-Tahitian debate, except to say we like Tahitian for creamy concoctions and the bolder Mexican in concert with dark chocolate. Find plump, vacuum-sealed beans of both varieties at Surfas Culinary District. Read More
  • Food Lovers Guide - Kouign Amann

    Butter worship is a birthright in Brittany—the French region that invented this transcendent caramelized pastry with the funny name (say Queen a-MAHN). Read More
wine blog

stuff we love

Charitable Events Calendar