Last weekend I participated in a celebration of the 300th anniversary of the founding of Île Royale (now Cape Breton) and Louisbourg, an 18th-century French fortress whose partial reconstruction is now one of Canada's most impressive National Historical Sites. As part of the anniversary festivities the fortress hosted a series of cooking demonstrations in addition to an outdoor market featuring local products like cheese, wine, beer, wild berries, and honey.
I was invited to give a cooking demo on wild mushrooms. I made a recipe that would showcase the chanterelle mushroom, since that is one of the island's most prolific. For the demo, I sauteed the chanterelles with herbs and garlic butter and finished them off with a bit of white wine. You'll find the recipe further down. I'd also like to make a special mention of a recently published cookbook called French Taste in Atlantic Canada - A Gastronomic History, which is about the cooking, techniques, and ingredients of Atlantic Canada between 1604 to 1758. I love reading up on the history of cooking and taste, and highly recommend this particular book. It was great to meet the historians and chefs whose enthusiasm for our region's culinary heritage has made this book a reality.
Wild Mushrooms and Herb Butter
• 4 cups wild mushrooms (here - chanterelles) • small bunch fresh herbs (thyme, chives, chervil, parsley, oregano) • 2 cloves garlic • 4 tablespoons butter • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar • 1/2 cup white wine • sea salt + ground black pepper • few flatbreads
Heat a large skillet on medium-high heat. Add the butter, herbs, and half of the garlic. Cook for a minute, then add the mushrooms and season with salt. Sautée a few minutes until cooked. Add the wine, apple cider vinegar, and the rest of the garlic. Let it simmer until the liquid has reduced by half. Remove from heat, taste, and season with salt and pepper. Serve warm on flatbreads.