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Lately, I have been the lucky recipient of recently foraged mushrooms, from my friend and master mushroom scout Jeff Longenecker. Jeff has had his secret spots to forage in the hills around Napa and the rugged redwood coasts of Sonoma and Mendocino for a few decades now. His birthday was in September and we gave him a copy of Mushrooms of the Redwood Coast; A Comprehensive Guide to the Fungi of Northern California by Noah Siegel and Christian Schwarz.
Late summer chanterelles and other mushrooms are plentiful in late fall. The exception being the morel, a harbinger of spring. The harvest and the sharing of the harvest is part of what makes this time of year very special.
Another Jeff with whom you are acquainted, Jeff Durham, has been keeping our kitchen stocked with his homemade crème fraîche. Imogene, our bread starter, is thriving and I have been baking a few loaves of slightly sour bread weekly. Also, Jeff and I have been making a host of terrines, pâtés, and sausages every Sunday.
When I received the mushrooms I thought of this great way to combine them all.
Please substitute in this recipe as you like and need, by no means is this sacrosanct; Cognac or Port for Madeira, red wine vinegar or Champagne vinegar for Sherry vinegar, savory for thyme… feel free to explore the many great, deep flavors of fall.
My favorite substitution in autumn is duck fat for the butter and oil to sauté the mushrooms and to fry the bread!
This can be a perfect savory side dish. However, I like to serve this with spicy lamb sausages that have been cooked over the coals of an outdoor red oak fire, white beans with rosemary and olive oil, and a nice bottle of wine; I may have one to suggest!