The forest is full of gold this time of year. Skogens gull. The time of year when mushrooms can be found by anyone desiring to look. And the mushrooms seemingly worth their weight in gold are the chanterelles (kantareller). With their bright, golden hue and curved caps, they are easily identifiable and almost give themselves away against the green, mossy forest bed.
Last week, we went on a sopptur, or mushroom hunt, to find these delicacies that grow all over this mountainous region. These hunts are one of life’s little pleasures and Norwegians view this time as a great way to combine fresh air, exercise and a good meal following a successful pick. This was our first hunt. The first of many to come. As we came along the path, not far from where we parked our car, we spotted the first chanterelle. My son had the honor of the first pick and quickly took to becoming one of the best chanterelle spotters and pickers around. We felt like we had hit gold that day. After an hour, we had filled all of our containers to the brim and even came across the biggest spoil right before returning home. Even without the copious amounts of chanterelles the evening still would have been a success as we laughed, chatted, snacked on wild blueberries and took in the serenity of the babbling brook as the sun’s rays shone through the elegant branches of the trees.
Chanterelles are chewy and meaty with a fruity and earthy aroma. They can be the feature of any dish or served as an accompaniment to highlight wild meats. They pair well with cream and butter and are delightful sautéed together with fresh herbs.
While we froze most of our bounty, we took a couple handfuls of the freshly picked ones and cooked them right over the open fire with the forest surrounding us. A couple sprigs of fresh thyme, a slice of butter, a glug of cream, a chunk of mild and creamy, white Norwegian goat cheese, some salt & pepper and a skillet is all we needed to make an absolutely delicious and rich dish.
This recipe is an easy, one-pan outdoor/campfire dish. A triumphant finish to the hunt for the forest’s gold. It’s rich and creamy, and will keep any belly satisfied while the main meal is slowly cooking away. Place some bread cubes along the grill to toast and then pass them around the campfire to dip into the gooey mixture.
- 2-3 handfuls of chanterelles (enough to fill the skillet, evenly)
- 1 Tb butter
- 2 dl (3/4 cup) heavy cream
- 450 g (1 lb) mild, hard goat cheese (preferably Norwegian white geitost), grated
- Couple of sprigs of fresh thyme
- Salt & pepper
- 1 loaf of white bread (loff brød), cubed and grilled
Place a medium sized cast-iron skillet on a secured grill over a prepared open fire. Place the butter in the skillet. When the butter has melted, add the chanterelles, salt and pepper (to taste) and some of the thyme and sauté until barely tender.
Add the cream to the skillet and cook until the mixture has thickened a bit.
Toss the grated goat cheese (or another cheese of your liking which melts well) over the mixture and let it melt, without stirring.
When the cheese has melted over the entire mixture, take it off the heat. Sprinkle a couple of thyme leaves on top and serve immediately with crusty bread for dipping.
*Here’s an informative guide on mushrooms in Norway
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