This post is by Full Circle’s resident Farm Foodie – Debra Dubief
I usually plan for meals as I am shopping, whether virtually or physically, and let the seasonal offerings and my cravings shape my cooking plans for the week. Some things spark an immediate idea for a familiar recipe while others I buy just because they are there now, and might not be later. Chanterelles fall into the latter category.
Once upon a time, before kids and a housing development cleared out “my” picking spot, I loved traipsing through the damp forest on a hunt for magnificent gold chanterelles. Each one I found felt like I had just discovered some fabulous treasure…..which, of course, I had. These days I’m happy to look no further than my Green Grocery to unearth some succulent chanterelles.
With fragrant woodsy aromas and a rich, delicate flavor, chanterelles need nothing more than a brief sauté, preferably in a bit of good organic butter, and you’re ready to feast. I also like to start with some chopped shallots – something else you should always have on hand this time of year. Then again, that gigantic leek that came in my box this week would be pretty amazing dressed in the apricot hues of those wild fungi. On their own, chanterelles are a very special side dish. Or, make them the star of your plate and toss with fresh pasta, thyme and cream, layer into lasagna, spoon onto crusty bread, stir them into risotto or for a real treat serve them alongside some seared scallops. They are also great with chicken or fish and superb in omelets, although atop a gently poached egg would be mighty fine, too.
We may be lucky enough to have chanterelles into early November, but a freak snow storm could also put a hasty end to this year’s crop, so grab them while you can and savor the magic of these delicious ‘shrooms.
This weekend I decided to follow through with my plans for a chanterelle and leek lasagna. The ricotta I had in my fridge turned out to be bad, but I was able to turn a half gallon of 2% milk into enough delicious ricotta by doubling this recipe and completely omitting the cream. Check out my previous post on how to make your own ricotta. For an extra luscious version, use 5-6 cups of béchamel sauce instead of the ricotta and marinara.
Chanterelle and Leek Lasagna
3 T olive oil
1 really large or 2 medium leeks, white and light green part only, chopped
1 pound Chanterelle mushrooms, cleaned and roughly chopped
3/4 cup dry white wine
1 T fresh thyme, barely chopped
2 1/2 cups prepared marinara sauce
3 cups fresh ricotta
1 egg, beaten
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 12oz package (6-4 1/2”x9” sheets) fresh lasagna*
3 links German sausage, cooked and sliced thin (optional)
1 cup grated New Moon Jack, Provolone or Mozzarella
1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Preheat oven to 375° and butter a 9×13 baking dish.
Heat olive oil in a large skillet and sauté leeks until soft. Add Chanterelles, thyme, salt and pepper to taste and continue to sauté until mushrooms are soft, about 10 minutes, then deglaze with wine and reduce until most of the juices are gone. Set aside.
Combine cheeses and set aside.
Combine ricotta, egg and garlic, and set aside.
Spread 1/2 cup of marinara on bottom of pan. Cover with 2 lasagna sheets. Spread 1/3 of remaining sauce over noodles. Crumble 1/3 of the ricotta over the sauce and distribute 1/3 of mushrooms and 1/2 of the sausage over that. Top with 1/3 of the cheese mixture. Repeat this sequence two more times, omitting sausage on the top layer.
Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake 20-25 minutes longer, until lasagna is bubbly and cheese is nicely browned. Let sit 5 minutes before serving.