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Chanterelles on toast

Thu, 20 August, 2020

Chanterelles or girolles, the former more precise as derived from the Latin name of the species, are the little sunny autumnal pots of flavour. No fuss cooking, serve them on toast for an amazing treat.

chanterelles on toast

Foraging for mushrooms

If you’re a keen forager – or live outside Britain – you’ll know the little yellow wild mushrooms that grow in sandy patches of pine forests. The environment self-explains why they are not common here outside perhaps parts of Scotland: for some reason, when Britain broke off the main continent eight thousand years ago, it left behind in France all the mycelium that wild mushrooms grow from and spread by.

sauteed fresh chanterelles

Wild mushrooms like the continent

When I hear of foraging for mushrooms in the UK, I laugh my head off. Let me demonstrate the difference: in the autumnal market in Munich, Germany a few years ago I saw stalls creaking under piles – mountains! – of ceps, chanterelles, and many more whose names are only known in languages other than English. They were sold by a kilo and even a wagonful wouldn’t break the bank.

fresh chanterelles

And then I visited a farmers’ market in West Sussex that featured a very small basket of non-descript and hardly edible-looking wild mushrooms for a tenner or so. The stall holder almost bit my head off when I dared attempt to touch one of that sorry crop.

sauteed chanterelles on sourdough toast

Girolles or chanterelles?

There is a problem with the name of the little yellow ones: as a sworn Francophile I always called those mushrooms ‘girolles’ and when, rarely, I saw them on restaurants’ menus, they were named thus too. It turns out I was pretending to be French or just being pretentious because the correct word for them in English is ’chanterelles’. It reflects the Latin name of the species Cantherellus cibarius and describes precisely the type of (yellow, small, sandy) mushroom.

cooked girolles served on toasted bread

And what are trumpet mushrooms?

There is apparently another type of related mushroom, called trumpet chanterelles: much more scraggly, reedy and not very appetising.

And there’s the rub: on the continent they don’t even bother picking those because they have plenty big fat funghi to choose from. Here in England we split hairs over the third division ones and try to convince ourselves that even oyster mushrooms are ‘wild’ or at least ‘exotic’.

girolled on toast

How to clean and cook chanterelles

Unlike bog standard farmed cups or chestnuts, chanterelles have bags of flavour. They need not much cooking, just sautéing in a little butter, a sprinkle of salt and a twist of pepper mill.

They also do not need washing which might be hard to stomach for the modern hygiene-obsessed folk but you’ll ruin them if you soak them. They are not usually dirty: a few pine needles, sand and a grain of soil is all; easily removed with a paper towel or a soft brush.

And piled on a nice thickly cut toasted bread – a feast. Bliss. Divine.

Chanterelles on toast

Servings: 2Time: 10 minutes
Rating: (1 reviews)


  • 200g (7 oz.) fresh chanterelle mushrooms
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • salt and pepper
  • thickly sliced sourdough bread or your favourite kind
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp. double cream (optional)
  • 1 tbsp. finely chopped parsley


1. Wipe the chanterelles clean with paper towels or scrape any dirt off with a small knife; don’t wash them unless really mucky or they’ll soak up water like sponges. Chop them roughly.

chopped fresh chanterelles

2. Melt the butter in a small frying pan over medium heat. When it’s foaming, add the chanterelles. Cook for about 3-5 minutes, stirring often.

3. When they have released some juice and re-absorbed it (or just wilted; depending how dry conditions they were growing in), put your bread in the toaster.

how to cook chanterelles

4. Season the mushrooms with salt and pepper, stir in the lemon juice. Add the cream, if using (it will make them, guess what: creamier) and check for seasoning. Sprinkle with parsley and load onto the toasted bread.

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Anna @ CuisineFiend
Hi Sarah - absolutely right, they seem to think that Chinese enoki and shiitake are wild, I despair. But also, I'm very VERY envious of your loot.
11 months ago
I live in Scotland and can tell you that the place is heaving with ceps, chanterelles and many other tasty treats. The difference is that the UK has lost its tradition of mushroom foraging - but this means there's more out there to pick as nobody else is picking them! Restaurants and markets tend to sell oyster mushrooms and Shiitakes as 'wild mushrooms' and I was in a restaurant this month who tried to pass off chestnut mushrooms as 'wild mushrooms'. I'm betting they were cultivated! I'm actually heading home right now with my backpack full of chanterelles, though I didn't find any cep today- probably because I picked them all last week :)
11 months ago
Anna @ CuisineFiend
Haha, thank you Charlie - fair enough, I'm better at cooking than foraging. But I do know a thing or two about wild mushrooms, and I've never, ever had any luck finding decent ones in England apart from, as I say, those scraggly trumpets or wood mushrooms.
12 months ago
What? They might not be growing out of our ears, but it's perfectly possible to find chanterelles in England and not just in sandy areas but in more acidic, peaty areas. Yes, under conifers but also around oaks. We seem rather nervous about eating wild mushrooms as a nation, which is just as well as that leaves more for those of us who take the time to study them. Your recipe seems decent though, so guessing food is your passion rather than foraging.
12 months ago

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