13 September 2010

i'm a fungi!

Yesterday, we went with Courtney and Nick to hunt for wild chanterelles (currently sold in the market for $16-20/lb.).  We went in the late afternoon and had only a few hours to snatch them up before sundown.  None of us were expecting to find very much.  Courtney and Nick were amazing at spotting them from a distance.  We returned home after an hour and a half with 2.5 lbs!  We hope to return in the next few weeks to find some more.

Tonight, Willis made a delicious Chanterelle Mushroom Barley Risotto for dinner.

Barley Risotto with Chanterelles

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 shallots, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
2 cups "medium" barley
1 cup good quality dry white wine
6 cups chicken stock
Grated zest of 1 lemon
2 handfuls chanterelle mushrooms, roughly chopped
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup crème fraiche

Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat, then add the onions, shallots, garlic, and salt and saute, stirring constantly, for about 4 minutes, or until the onion begins to soften.

Add the barley to the pot and stir until coated with a nice sheen, then add the white wine and simmer for 3 or 4 minutes, until the barley has absorbed the liquid a bit. Adjust the heat to maintain a gentle, active simmer.

In increments, add about 6 cups of stock, 1 cup at a time, letting the barley absorb most of the liquid between additions; this should take around 40 minutes altogether. Stir regularly so the grains on the bottom of the pan don't scorch. Add the mushrooms with the 4th or 5th cup of stock, so that they will get cooked, but not get mushy. You will know when the barley is cooked because it won't offer up much resistance when chewing (it will, however, be chewier than Arborio rice).

When the barley is tender remove the pot from heat. Stir in the lemon zest, Parmesan, and crème fraiche. Add salt to taste.

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