It's all about the chanterelle mushrooms this week. Farmer Louie Mello of San Luis Opispo is bringing in lots of chanterelles that grow wild on his property. These mushrooms have a firm texture that holds up well to poaching, sauteeing and grilling. Some are as large as dinner plates while others are much smaller. Chanterelles cannot be cultivated and depend on the right conditions to grow -- cold, rainy weather.
Chef Mark Peel loves chanterelles and is serving them with coq au vin blanc (a variation on the chicken and red wine dish, coq au vin) at his new restaurant, The Tar Pit, located at 609 N La Brea near Melrose. Peel likes to chop chaterelles in large strips then saute them in olive oil and garlic. They have a delicate flavor and shouldn't be served with anything that could overpower their flavor.
Mark Peel, sporting a chanterelle corsage