Foraging // Chanterelle and Corn Tacos with Chile Crema

Chanterelle and Corn Tacos with Chile Crema {Katie at the Kitchen Door}

Foraging for Chanterelles {Katie at the Kitchen Door}

Last weekend, Trevor and I went on a little adventure. We drove up the coast into Maine, trekked out into the woods, and began our search for forest gold: chanterelles.

The first time I had chanterelles in any quantity was last summer in St. Petersburg. There’s a much stronger foraging and preserving culture in Russia than here in the states, and when chanterelles come into season, the whole city explodes with лисички сезон (lisichki sezon) menus, featuring chanterelles in every form imaginable. Although prized and celebrated for their texture and flavor, they aren’t the commodity that wild mushrooms are here, and while you may pay a few dollars more to have your mushroom soup made from chanterelles, it won’t break the bank.

Chanterelle and Corn Tacos with Chile Crema {Katie at the Kitchen Door}

Foraging for Chanterelles {Katie at the Kitchen Door}

Foraging for Chanterelles {Katie at the Kitchen Door}

Around Boston, however, it’s rare to find specialty wild mushrooms like chanterelles in grocery stores, even the upscale ones. When you do, they’re usually exorbitantly priced – I’ve seen morels go for as much as $70 a pound. Morels are delicious, but there are a lot of other delicacies I could buy for 1/3 of the price – like filet mignon and wild-caught salmon. So when Trevor’s uncle called to let us know that chanterelles were abundant in Maine, and offered to take us on a foraging trip, we jumped at the chance. Trevor’s uncle is a foodie in the truest sense of the word, without any of the negative connotations that word sometimes carries. An author and editor who has lived in both France and Russia, he has a deep understanding of food and its history from multiple cultural perspectives. Many of his books revolve around food: From Here You Can’t See Paris chronicles a year in the life of a restaurant in a rural town in France, while his cookbook, Fresh From Maineshares recipes and stories from Maine’s up-and-coming chefs. In short, a good person to go foraging with, and an even better person to get ideas from for what to do with your bounty of mushrooms.

Chanterelle and Corn Tacos with Chile Crema {Katie at the Kitchen Door}

Foraging for Chanterelles {Katie at the Kitchen Door}

I had no idea that chanterelles grew in such prolific quantities in New England. Michael led us to hillsides covered with the small golden mushrooms, poking up from the pine needle-blanketed forest floor. Once we had found a good spot, we set to work gathering: down on our hands and knees, slicing the mushrooms from their stems, brushing the dirt and pine needles from the caps, then adding the clean mushrooms to our quickly filling bags. It’s a lovely thing to do, foraging for mushrooms – it’s quiet and focused, with the exhilaration of discovery and the wonderment of nature’s creations. Find someone who knows the forest and knows mushrooms and is willing to teach you – it’s worth it.

Foraging for Chanterelles {Katie at the Kitchen Door}

Foraging for Chanterelles {Katie at the Kitchen Door}

Foraging for Chanterelles {Katie at the Kitchen Door}

After only an hour of picking Trevor and I had gathered 5 pounds – as much as we could dream of using – and Michael probably picked twice as much as the two of us combined during the same time period, so we packed up our mushrooms and hiked out of the woods. We enjoyed a quick but perfect lunch of mozzarella, tomato, and basil on fresh baguette, then Trevor and I were on our way back home, where the task of further cleaning and processing our mushrooms awaited us. Although the cleaning and processing is not a small amount of work, we now have enough bags of butter-sauteed chanterelles tucked away in our freezer to get us at least through the fall. We froze about 2/3 of our haul, but we kept enough fresh mushrooms in the fridge for a week of good eating. We started off with a Chanterelle Carbonara, then these Chanterelle and Corn Tacos, and finished up with Chanterelle Burgers. All three recipes were delicious, and perhaps I’ll share the other two with you later, but for now, let’s focus on these tacos. I had been toying with the idea of a summery, mushroom and corn vegetarian taco for a while, so it was the perfect thing to try when we found ourselves with a surplus of mushrooms. The mushroom filling is as savory and satisfying as any meat-based taco, and the creamy and slightly spicy chile sauce is a little bit addictive. The tacos don’t need much more than that, but I added some sliced avocado and a bit of crumbled cotija cheese to finish them off. A worthy use of our chanterelles, for sure.

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Chanterelle and Corn Tacos with Chile Crema {Katie at the Kitchen Door}

Chanterelle and Corn Tacos with Chile Crema

Serves 2 as a main, 4 as an appetizer.

  • 1/4 c. sour cream
  • 2 TBS heavy cream
  • juice from 1/2 lime
  • 1/4 tsp coarse sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/8 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 TBS butter
  • 3 c. chanterelles torn into large pieces
  • 1 ear raw corn, corn kernels cut from the cob
  • 1/2 small jalapeno, seeded and minced
  • 1 TBS minced fresh thyme leaves
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 avocado, halved, pitted and sliced
  • 4 small tortillas
  • 2 oz. crumbled cotija
  1. In a small bowl, stir together the sour cream, heavy cream, lime juice, sea salt, chili powder, and smoked paprika until smooth. Taste, and adjust flavorings to your taste. Set aside.
  2. In a large frying pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the chanterelles and cook until soft and deeply colored, about 8 minutes. Add the corn, jalapeno and thyme to the pan, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the corn and jalapeno have softened slightly, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  3. To serve, line each tortilla with a few slices of avocado. Top with 1/4 of the mushroom and corn mixture, then drizzle some chile crema over the top. Sprinkle with the crumbled cotija, and serve immediately.
Summary

Recipe Name
Chanterelle and Corn Tacos with Chile Crema
Published On
Preparation Time
Cook Time
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Average Rating
2.5 Based on 9 Review(s)

9 thoughts on “Foraging // Chanterelle and Corn Tacos with Chile Crema

  1. I love foraging! Right now I am living in Germany and find all kinds of wild goodies in my backyard (plums, cherries, raspberries, blackberries) The mushroom growth here in the fall is insane! I really want to go mushroom foraging but I haven’t found a group of people who know wild mushrooms well enough to trust :(

  2. As I sit here staring at the computer, you have transported me to a dear memory with this post. Many years ago, a new friend took me foraging near her home in the Columbia River Gorge. At the time my daughter was four or five, small enough to have a perfect view of the forest floor. After learning what she was looking for, she quickly became a little mushroom hound and proudly announce a sighting. We filled a 5 gallon bucket with chanterelles and a few lobster mushrooms. A glorious day, with more glorious meals to follow. I wish I had this recipe at the time! So many of my favorites: corn tortillas, chanterelles, smoked paprika. Thank you!

  3. 5 punds! Holy smokes…kinda sorta jealous and what an amazing foraging guide you had. Love the tacos – they seem so summery and I am sure, delish!

  4. I’m super jealous of your mushroom-foraging expedition! I think that means I need to go find our local mycological society, doesn’t it? :) These tacos sound delicious — such a great way to highlight fresh mushrooms.

  5. Growing up in Poland we used to pick these all the time. They were, of course, called something else and I really had a hard time finding the North American equivalent. Reading about how you had these in Russia I immediately knew those were similar. Great photography and recipe. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Absolutely gorgeous photos, Katie… So very evocative – they conjour up images of dark, cool woods, the strong scent of pine trees and that slight feeling of mysterious and magic that comes with venturing deep into the forest. Wish I was there!

  7. Ignore the rating of 2, I did that by mistake as I didn’t know how that button worked. Couldn’t figure how to undo it. So Sorry!
    Love the pictures and plan to try the recipe with the 2lbs of Chanterelles I got this am.

  8. Chanterelles are my favourite mushrooms, I always think of my home, when I eat them. My fave dish is thinly sliced fried potatoes with chanterelles. I have never tried them in tacos, but it looks delicious. So happy I came across your blog via Pinterest. Your photos are splendid, and I have already pinned a good amount.

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