Last weekend I asked my husband to run down to the market and grab a tomato for breakfast. He came back with a tomato and a 5 lb. bag of mushrooms! "These aren't just any mushrooms, they are white chanterelles", proclaimed the ecstatic and enthusiastic mushroom vendor. With this type of enthusiasm it was understandable why my husband bought so many. Apparently, white chanterelles, or otherwise know as cantharellus subalbidus, are much less common than their cousin the yellow chanterelle and grow in the northwest forest plain.
Mushrooms are good for you, being a source of B vitamins, potassium, and selenium. Also, they are the only plant source of vitamin D. The majority of our vitamin D intake comes from fatty fish, fortified milk, and the sun. When mushrooms are exposed to UVB light they can convert ergosterol (naturally found in mushrooms) to vitamin D2. The reaction is similar in humans except we make vitamin D3 from cholecalciferol (naturally found in humans), in the presence of UVB. Essentially they are both forms of Vitamin D and perform the same actions in the body, although evidence suggests that vitamin D2 is less bioavailable than vitamin D3, meaning vitamin D2 doesn't do as good of a job raising and maintaining serum levels. There has been a growing number of research studies investigating how ultraviolet treatment of fresh mushrooms increases vitamin D levels. Consequently, Dole and Monterey Mushrooms have grown and are selling mushrooms that contains 400 IU of vitamin D per serving, although I have not yet found these super mushrooms on the grocery store shelves. So, what did I do with these mushrooms you ask? I decided to take some of the delicious chanterelles and make my very first risotto. I used a recipe from 100 Great Risottos by Valentina Harris with some minor changes, and mastered my first risotto. It was so rich and amazing and was deliciously paired with a fine Washington state Shiraz.
200 g chanterelle mushrooms, chopped
6 tbsp unsalted butter
1 onion, chopped
1-2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 small sprig of fresh rosemary
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 3/4 cups dry Arborio rice
8 cups vegetable stock
sea salt and freshly milled pepper
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Wipe the mushrooms clean with a wet paper towel.
Melt half the butter (3 tbsp) in a large pan and fry the onion, garlic, and rosemary until the onions are soft and transleucent.
Add the chopped mushrooms and fry for 2 minutes.
While the mushrooms are cooking, in a separate pot, heat the stock.
Add the white wine to the mushrooms. Let the alcohol evaporate slightly before beginning to add the rice. Add the rice to the pan and fry until until it begins to crackle. Add the stock a ladleful at a time, stirring continuously and waiting until the liquid has been absorbed before you add the next ladle. Make sure to continuously stir the rice mixture.
Continue in this way until the rice is tender but firm to the bite. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the remaining butter and Parmesan cheese. Cover the pan and leave the risotto to stand for 3 minutes before transferring to a warmed platter to serve.