If you know what you're looking for, you can find edible mushrooms in the wild most of the year, not only the autumn months (in which they are certainly more abundant). My favourites; namely girolles (also known as chanterelles) and ceps, don't usually come fully into season until late summer, depending on the conditions. Girolles invariably come before ceps, and in Scotland you can often find them as early as June. Perthshire in particular, is well known in local culinary circles as a mushroom haven.
So, although wild mushrooms are typically associated with autumn, the prime season for girolles is mid-to-late summer, and will continue into the autumn. If you get them while they're young and small, they're like delicate yellow buttons and make for a beautiful plate of food. I picked these last weekend in a local spot that has a reliable crop every year, and I was wondering what to do with them. Garlic mushrooms on toast is really hard to beat, so here it is.
- 2 large handfuls small girolles
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 handful parsley leaves
- 1 small clove garlic
- 2 thick slices sourdough bread
- 2 small round shallots
- extra virgin olive oil
- sea salt and cracked black pepper
Using a sharp knife, finely chop the garlic. Reserve a few of the parsley leaves for decoration, finely chop the rest, then mix together with the garlic. Set aside. Peel the shallots, cut crossways into rounds, then separate into rings.
Heat a saute pan or frying pan over a medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. When the oil is hot (in about 20 seconds), add the girolles along with a pinch of salt. Stir-and-fry for 10 seconds, then add half of the shallot rings. Cook for about 1 minute, stirring or tossing frequently, then add a splash of water. Cover with a lid or a piece of aluminium foil, and continue to cook for 1-2 minutes or until the mushrooms are tender. Strain the liquid through a colander into a bowl, and set aside.
Put the slices of bread on to toast. Place a separate pan over a medium heat and add the butter. When it is melted, add the parsley and garlic. Fry in the butter for 20 seconds, then add the cooking liquid from the girolles. Bring to the boil, and simmer for 1 minute. Put the mushrooms on top of the toast, and pour over the buttery garlic sauce. Decorate with the remaining shallot rings and parsley leaves.