Poêlée de champignons des bois

wild mushrooms1I learned this dish many years ago from a French friend who happened to be living in the Périgord region south of Limoges, an area that falls within the northern reaches of Dordogne. First we went out gathering mushrooms in a nearby wood. We were searching for girolles, the bright yellow-orange mushrooms known in English as chanterelles and — my favorite — in Russian as lisichki (‘little foxes’), presumably due to their golden color. We brought the mushrooms home and looked them over. Happily my friend was rather experienced at this and could tell a poison mushroom from a good one. Then quite quickly she cleaned them, sautéed them in olive oil with a little garlic — et voilà! A masterpiece. But I’ve taken liberties with her recipe…

Poêlée de champignons des bois / Wild mushrooms with herbs

After living in France for a while I was sent as a reporter to Russia, where mushroom hunting and eating is a national passion. I fear I was seriously smitten by the Russian taste for fresh herbs, which explains why I have added them to this recipe, along with a spot of cream. Prepared this way, the mushrooms can be served as a warm starter or used to accompany fish, meats, pasta or eggs. My preferred herbs from Russia are dill and cilantro, but this is one dish where you can let your imagination run wild. Try any herbs you happen to have on hand — and let us know how it turns out!

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