Here, I'll say it; I love Chanterelles!! From the name, which, is such a melody, don't you think?; to the color, the rich sunset hue!; to their flavor, meaty yet oh so, delicate!
I have been in love with them for a while now and when I saw their stupendous beauty laid out for all to see by Danielle, Spring just couldn't come soon enough for me. Even when it had warmed up considerably enough for me to be hopeful of finding this bounty in grocery stores, I couldn't! My neighborhood stores didn't have any! Every week, I scrounged and came back empty, limping in disappointment. Even the Union Square markets, known for their variety fell short.
It wasn't until I met Christine and Trissa and C suggested an impromptu tour of Chelsea market that I finally set eyes on these gorgeous beauties!! Christine, by the way, is one person you should go food shopping with! Her knowledge of produce, and their uses, is astounding. It is always an eye-opening experience for me...
Time had other plans for me and it wasn't until very recently I managed to procure some of these infamous (in my mind) mushrooms from this market. When I actually went to buy, I noticed the $30 per lb price tag. Yes, I knew they were pricey but well, reality check hadn't kicked in. With creminis at $4, I had to wonder if these mushrooms are 7 times as good? Perhaps, the $$ was about more than just simple taste, something called micro-economics was in play... :)
Anyway, I picked up some and headed home, heady with their aroma from the bag and swirling with ideas of using them. I had quite a few, but, in the end, decided to go with the simplest one viz. saute with butter and onions. Just that, nothing fancy. I wanted to taste the mushrooms without all the shebang of sauces and such (besides, I had had a recent terrible experience at Brasserie 8-1/2, which, almost took away my joy for these delicate things. But, happily it was the restaurant's fault, not the mushrooms!:))
You could just as easily eat these Sauteed Mushrooms over toast but I had also picked up fresh pasta along with the mushrooms and had been itching to try Carbonara Sauce for a while. They just seemed to go together. So, although, the mushrooms were prepared minimalistically, the whole dish with the pasta was satisfyingly rich in flavor and texture.
Since this is a such a simple dish to put together, I am not putting down a recipe per se. For the pasta, I used a standard carbonara recipe with pancetta instead of bacon.
For the mushrooms, saute some sweet onions in butter until translucent. Add the mushrooms and season with salt and pepper (go light on the pepper) and cook just until the water has been released from the mushrooms. Top the pasta with the mushrooms, drizzle some balsamic vinegar over, serve immediately and take a trip to Nirvana!