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Byline: Jim Boyd The Register-Guard

Here in the Northwest, the wild mushroom season goes into full swing when the autumn rains fall. Ocean fog dripping off the evergreen trees along the coast brings early flushes of golden chanterelles and lobster mushrooms in August, but it takes a good rain shower like the one we had last week to trigger the more widespread fruiting of chanterelles and other tasty fungi.

"You wait for the first rainfall and you count 10 days and you go mushroom hunting," says Tom Bollag, the owner of Chef's Kitchen at 3443 Hilyard St.

He's known for the fall mushroom medley he serves as an appetizer during wild mushroom season. Prepared with a sherry cream sauce, it allows his guests to taste and compare the different flavors of five or six varieties of wild and farmed mushrooms.

Bollag always puts the common white button mushroom and the shiitake mushroom into the medley because those farmed mushrooms provide familiar flavors for comparison with the wild ones.

The rest of the medley depends on what's available: the golden chanterelle, white chanterelle, horn of plenty, lobster mushroom, matsutake, cauliflower mushroom, the king bolete (Boletus edulis), which is known as porcini in Italy, cepe in France and steinpilz in Germany.

Bollag makes the medley with five or six slices - "five or six bites," he calls them - of each type of mushroom except for the matsutake. It has an overpowering flavor, so he puts only one slice in the center of the dish.

The secret to the fall mushroom medley, Bollag says, is the technique he uses to cook five or six different mushrooms in a single pan without jumbling them together.

"It's almost like putting it in a pan with dividers," he said. "That's the secret I won't give out."

Bollag volunteered a recipe for Fall Medley Pasta made with a similar kind of sherry cream sauce, and we've included his recipes for several other mushroom dishes.

"Twice cooking," a method advocated by French chef Auguste Escoffier, is one of the keys to the proper preparation of mushrooms, Bollag says, and it's a technique he uses in his recipes today.

Twice cooking is a sauteing technique in which cleaned mushrooms are sauteed in a little fat (olive oil or butter or both) until they exude their juice, the juice boils away and the mushrooms brown. Other flavors are then added for a second cooking that allows the mushrooms to absorb the new flavors.

For example, onion or garlic or both may be added and cooked until translucent, and the pan splashed with wine or lemon juice to deglaze the brown caramel in the bottom of the pan.

When he returns from a foraging trip, Bolag trims the mushrooms of any dirt on the stems, brushes off any conifer needles, rinses the mushrooms and then sets them on paper towels to dry a bit before processing or storage. Refrigerate mushrooms in open containers or brown paper bags, he says, not in airtight plastic bags that will cause them to rot.

The son of Swiss parents, Bollag grew up in the San Francisco Bay area, where his father worked as a chef. He developed his love of mushroom foraging during the summers he and his sister would fly off to visit their grandparents in Switzerland.

Bollag's paternal grandfather, who lived in Herrliberg near Zurich, would take the children mushroom hunting for chanterelles and boletes.

Golden chanterelles and lobster mushrooms are the most common wild mushrooms on the market here in the fall. Lobster mushrooms are bland Russula mushrooms (Russula brevipes) that have had their taste much improved by being parasitized by a more flavorful, orange- to red-colored fungus (Hypomyces lactifluorum).

The peak fruiting of the king boletes (Boletus edulis) occurs in November and early December in Western Oregon, according to the staff at Mycological, a Eugene company that deals in dried and fresh mushrooms. Oregon white and black truffles come on the market in time for Christmas. Hedgehog (Dentinum umbilicatum) and yellowfoot (Cantharellus infundibuliformis) mushrooms are the most common wild mushrooms in January. Morels become available in April or May, and the boletes that grow east of the Cascades fruit then as well.

Of course, a variety of commercially raised mushrooms are available year-round. White button, brown crimini and portabella mushrooms are different forms of the same farm-raised species, Agaricus bisporus. Shiitake and the king oyster mushroom are other popular cultivated species.

With the possible exception of the matsutake, any of the fleshy kinds of wild or farmed mushrooms can be substituted for the ones called for in the recipes that follow.


Three of the following recipes require 1 cup bechamel or white sauce.

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup chicken or vegetable boullion or canned chicken broth

1 small bay leaf



Salt and white pepper

Note: For a thin sauce, use 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon flour. For a medium sauce, use 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons flour. And for a thick sauce, use 3 tablespoons butter and 3 tablespoons flour.

In a small saucepan, heat the milk, the chicken or vegetable stock and the bay leaf just to a simmer. Remove from heat before the liquid boils.

Meanwhile, make a roux by melting the appropriate amount of butter in a small saute pan and adding an equal amount of flour. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, for about 2 minutes. Do not let the roux brown.

Scrape the roux into the hot liquid and whisk briskly. Return the saucepan to the burner and cook over medium heat until the sauce reaches a rolling boil. Remove from heat and strain. Season with salt and white pepper.

The sauce is partially cooked at this point and will thicken when cooked with the sauteed mushrooms in the recipes that follow.

Note: Chef Tom Bollag uses a thin to medium sauce in his recipes for Fall Medley Pasta and Giroles Coquilles St. Jacques. The sample batch he made used 5 tablespoons butter and 5 tablespoons flour to thicken 4 cups of liquid. The recipe for Chanterelles Cromesquis requires a thick sauce, which may be too thick to put through a strainer.

Fall Medley Pasta

1 to 2 pounds small mushrooms

2 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon chopped shallots

1/4 cup dry sherry wine

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 cup thin to medium bechamel (white) sauce, see previous recipe

1/4 cup cream

Salt and white pepper to taste

Pasta, cooked and drained

Chopped chives for garnish

For the most interesting flavor, use a mix of wild mushrooms or of wild and cultivated varieties. Wash mushrooms. If necessary, cut into bite-size pieces.

Saute the mushrooms for 5 minutes in butter. When the juice has boiled away, add the shallots, sherry and lemon juice. Continue sauteing until the mushrooms have absorbed the sherry and lemon juice, and the shallots are translucent.

Add the white sauce and cream. Season with salt and white pepper. Simmer until sauce has thickened.

Add mushroom sauce to cooked and drained pasta. Garnish with chives. Serves 2.


and Scrambled Eggs

3 tablespoons chopped onion

2 tablespoons butter

1 cup chanterelles (whole, if small; sliced, if large)

2 tablespoons chopped tomato

8 eggs

1/4 cup cream (optional)

Salt and pepper to taste

1 tablespoon chopped parsley

Saute onions in butter until transparent. Add mushrooms and continue sauteing until the exuded juice has evaporated and the mushrooms are lightly browned. Add tomatoes.

Beat eggs lightly; add cream and mix only until blended. Pour over mushrooms in pan. Season with salt and pepper. Stir, cooking over low heat until eggs are soft and firm.

Sprinkle chopped parsley over scrambled eggs and serve. Serves 4.

Giroles Coquilles St. Jacques

Giroles is the French word for chanterelles. Other mushrooms may be used.

4 scallop shells or baking dishes

For the Duchesse Potatoes:

6 medium-sized potatoes

4 cups water plus 1/4 teaspoon salt

1 egg yolk

3 to 4 tablespoons milk

Salt to taste

Egg wash (1 egg and 1 tablespoon water, beaten together)

For the scallops and mushrooms:

1 cup thin to medium bechamel (white) sauce, see previous recipe

16 large ocean scallops

1 tablespoon butter

1 cup sliced mushrooms

1 teaspoon minced shallots

1/2 teaspoon minced garlic

2 tablespoons brandy

1/4 teaspoon lemon juice

Salt and white pepper to taste

1/2 cup shredded Gruyere cheese

1/4 cup bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Peel potatoes and cook in salted water, either whole or cut into quarters, until tender. Drain them and dry over low heat until no more steam rises. While potatoes are still hot, puree them through a food mill, ricer or strainer. Beat together egg yolk and milk; add to the potatoes. Taste the potatoes and adjust the seasoning. Place in a pastry bag with a fluted tube.

Pipe the Duchesse Potatoes around the border of each shell or baking dish. Brush the borders with egg wash and brown in the oven before filling.

Meanwhile, prepare 1 cup thin to medium bechamel.

Brown one flat side of each scallop quickly in 1 tablespoon butter on medium high heat. The scallops may stick to the pan at first but will release when properly browned.

Place 4 scallops, with the browned side facing up, in each shell or baking dish bordered with Duchesse Potatoes.

Add mushrooms to the pan in which the scallops were sauteed. Saute until the mushrooms have exuded their juice and the liquid has evaported. Add shallots and garlic. Cook for 1 minute. Then deglaze pan with brandy and pour in the bechamel. Add lemon juice. Bring sauce to boil and let thicken. Season with salt and white pepper to taste.

Spoon mushroom mixture over the scallops in each shell or baking dish. Sprinkle each with cheese. Top each with 1 teaspoon bread crumbs. Place in oven and bake at 450 degrees until brown and crusty, not more than 5 minutes. Serves 4.

Rice With Cepes (Boletus edulis)

2 tablespoons chopped onion

2 tablespoons olive oil

4 tablespoons butter, divided

1 cup converted rice

1 cup sliced fresh Boletus edulis

1/4 cup dry white wine

2 cups hot chicken or vegetable bouillon or canned chicken broth

1 teaspoon salt or to taste

1/4 teaspoon white pepper

3/4 cup or more grated Parmesan cheese

Saute onion in olive oil until translucent. Blend in 2 tablespoons butter. Add the rice and mushrooms. Stir and cook on medium high heat until rice is dry and beginning to stick to the bottom of pan, approximately 4 to 5 minutes.

Add wine and allow the alcohol to steam off, about 30 seconds. Then add the bouillon or broth, salt and white pepper. Reduce heat to low and cook for 15 minutes.

Add remaining 2 tablespoons butter and grated Parmesan cheese. Toss lightly with a fork. Cover and let stand for an additional 15 minutes. Serve.

Chanterelle Cromesquis

1 cup thick bechamel (white) sauce, see recipe

3 cups diced, small chanterelles

1 tablespoon butter

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Salt to taste

Pinch cayenne pepper

8 thin 4- to 5-inch diameter crepes, recipe follows, or use flour tortillas

Fritter or tempura batter (see note)

Oil for deep frying

Make a thick bechamel (white) sauce.

Saute chanterelles in butter until they exude their juice and the liquid boils away.

Add the bechamel (white) sauce to the mushrooms. Stir and cook until the mixture leaves the sides of your pan. (The white sauce should have the consistency of cooked oatmeal.) Add grated cheese and season to taste with salt and cayenne pepper.

Spread mixture over crepes or flour tortillas and roll up in jelly-roll fashion.

Trim the ends square and cut each roll in half. Dip into fritter or tempura batter. Fry in deep fat, preheated to 375 degrees, until golden.

Drain on paper towels and serve as an hors d'oeuvre. Makes 16 hors d'oeuvres.

Note: For fritter batter, sift 1 cup flour together with 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Add 1 beaten egg and 2/3 cup milk, and beat until smooth.


2 eggs

1 cup milk

1/2 cup flour

Salt and pepper to taste

2 tablespoons melted butter

To make the batter, whisk eggs and milk together. Add flour, whisking briskly to create a smooth batter. Then whisk in salt, pepper and melted butter.

Use an 8-inch-diameter nonstick crepe pan with a 5-inch cooking surface. Spray cooking surface with oil. Heat pan over medium-high heat. When the pan begins to smoke, pour 2 tablespoons batter into the pan and tilt the pan as needed to spread the batter evenly over the cooking surface. When the crepe begins to bubble, turn over with a spatula to fry the second side. As crepes are made, lay them flat on wax paper until cool. Once cool, stack, separated by sheets of wax paper, until ready to use.

Jim Boyd can be reached at 338-2363 or


Lobster mushrooms are one of the most common wild mushrooms on the market in the Northwest during the fall.
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Title Annotation:Chef's sampler allows diners to taste and compare wild and farmed fungi; Food
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Article Type:Recipe
Date:Sep 17, 2003
Previous Article:Minimum wage will rise to $7.05.
Next Article:ALMANAC.

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