This comforting version of “Creamed Mushrooms on Toast” combines the earthy flavours of wild chanterelle mushrooms and hearth baked, heritage wheat bread.
Red Fife Wheat is a heritage Canadian wheat that was grown on small farms across Canada in the 1800’s and enjoyed for its excellent flavor. With the large-scale commercialization of wheat in Canada, Red Fife fell by the wayside and by the 1990’s there was less than a pound. The wheat was saved and planted at a heritage mill museum site and eventually distributed to a handful of organic farmers. In 2004 it became a Slow Food Canadian Ark project and, with the support of artisan bakers, millers, and organic farmers, it has been successfully re-commercialized on a small scale with a harvest of over 250 tons in 2005.
Chanterelle mushrooms grow abundantly in the forests of the Pacific Northwest between August and November and can be found seasonally in fine grocery stores and specialty food shops.
- 4 (1/2-inch thick) slices of Red Fife Wheat bread or a comparable whole wheat artisan loaf
- 1/2 pound fresh chanterelle mushrooms
- 1 medium leek
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- 1 cup of heavy cream (for a lower calorie version substitute half of the cream with chicken or vegetable stock)
- 1 teaspoon butter
- 6 fresh sage leaves, with extra leaves for garnish optional
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
-Remove the crust from the bread slices and cut into triangles. Set aside.
-Clean the mushrooms using a dry pastry brush or the corner of a slightly damp tea towel to remove any dirt, moss, or pine needles.
-Rip the larger mushrooms in half or quarters to match the size of the smallest mushrooms.
-Cut off and discard the dark green of the leek. Slice the white and light green portion of the leek lengthwise, first in half and then into quarters. Cut the leek quarters into 1/4-inch thick slices. Wash the leek slices in a strainer under cold running water to ensure that any sand is removed.
-Stack the 6 sage leaves on top of each other and roll them up, then chop them finely but not until they become black and bruised.
-Place the bread on a tray in a 400°F oven to toast, or toast on a grill or in a toaster.
-In a 9-inch sauté pan, melt the butter and sauté the leeks and garlic on medium high heat with a pinch of salt until they turn translucent. Add the mushrooms and another pinch of salt and continue to cook until the mushrooms become soft and render their liquid.
-Add the cream, sage, and a few twists of freshly ground pepper from a pepper mill and cook a few more minutes until the cream coats the back of a spoon.
-Place the toasted bread on pre-warmed plates and spoon on the creamed mushrooms. Garnish with sage leaves and serve immediately.
-- Mara Jernigan 2006