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Foraging and fishing, the first Chanterelles

July 16, 2007-07-16

Foraging and fishing in the Mauricie

determined to get some trout

bolet insigne

petite salsapareille

baby bolet orangé848659-921136-thumbnail.jpg
yellow boletus patch

Labrador tea





This was a week of foraging and fishing in Northern Québec , and most importantly, our first significant mushroom finds. We were on a half-work, half-play excursion to the Triton Fish and Game Club, a hunting and fishing lodge with a prestigious history deep in the woods north of La Tuque. www.seigneriedutriton.com François was there to show the staff what was edible in the surrounding forests, I was there to give cooking tips, to document it all, and mostly to have a good time. I came back with a zillion bug bites, a good tan, several lingering taste memories and a piece of mind. There’s nothing like the deep woods to calm a soupnancy down. The great thing about the Triton is the staff, who will fry up or transform your trout into tartare lakeside or in the dining room that night. The only problem was I didn’t catch any fish. Meanwhile there was a European kid who caught 17 in one morning, the little punk. Happily, a lady who had seen me on TV was generous enough to share her catch with me, so I got my tartare studded with capers, coarsely chopped onions, lemon and olive oil, so simple so f-ing good. Another gustatory highlight was the fabulous Serrano style ham the house makes that we ate night after night with onion jam and boletus oil and au naturel for breakfast.

Black raspberries, chanterelles and cèpes, corn

But the best part of our trip were the mushroom sightings. We came across whacks of boletus of all kinds, and then came back home to some beautiful young chanterelles in our backyard. A couple of cèpes (porcini) made an appearance too, so now, we’re primed. Thanks to the rain and a good amount of sun, this growing season is powering along, fruitful and in balance, everything is good. The farmers are rejoicing, and when the cultivated stuff is going well, you know the weeds are doing even better.

Our dehydrator is working hard, and every hot/dry nook and cranny is being used to dry something, oven space is precious. Many plants are flowering so we’ve got elderberry flower, sweet clover flower, common yarrow and milkweed flower drying, all for our tisane. The first black raspberries are out and so the wild blueberries and raspberries won’t be far behind. This is the one time of year when I find myself with too much great stuff - I want to put it all on the menu, but I only have five courses a night. It’s a struggle to keep my menu from turning into a convoluted mess of too many crazy sounding (and tasting) things. Even though I do believe that restraint is the quality of a truly good cook, at this time of year, minimalism does not come naturally to me. It hurts me to see perfect salsify, milkweed broccoli, live-forever and day lily buds sitting untouched in my cooler because I’m all enchanted with the newest of the new, the marine greens, the many flowers, the little peas, the corn, the chanterelles, the baby zucchini, the purselane.. I’ve got some beautiful scallops this week to accompany my sea spinach, and organic duck from a producer nearby to try, perfect for the corn and chanterelles. I think I will drop the strawberry rhubarb thing and move into the raspberry- blueberry- elderberry realm for my dessert. And I’ve got a variety of baby veg coming in from a local farmer to go alongside all the wild stuff - c’est l’abondance!


elderberry flower

fragrant milkweed flower







Scallop, sea spinach, tomato crinkleroot emulsion

eel brandade, smoked salmon, sea asparagus and pickled buds
mousse deux chocolats et thé des bois, berries











Posted on Monday, July 16, 2007 at 03:09PM by Registered CommenterNancy Hinton in , | Comments2 Comments

Reader Comments (2)

Hi Nancy, love hearing the stories about foraging and the pictures are awsome, same goes for your plates, nice work. We've been getting alot of nice wild stuff at work too, we have been using aroche the mer with lobster, salicorne and the tinest giroles i have ever seen. I had a question, I just got a big bag of wild rose petals, besides the obvious, syrup and maybe jelly do you have any suggestions for using this? what do you do with it and how do you preserve it? thanks
July 26, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterfranck
Rose petals: Like you say, the obvious is an infusion of some sort like a syrup or juice or tea or vinaigrette or jelly (and so foam), cream etc.. I find wild rose best paired with another fruit or berry in a dessert preparation (alone it’s too reminiscent of air freshener). It is also good in a savoury preparation or sauce with an herb (basil, rosemary, mint..) or with a spice (cumin, coriander, any kind of peppercorn). I've seen them candied too. I find them too intense to use fresh as in a salad, and so I will only use them cooked into a jelly, infused or dehydrated. In fact, that’s mainly how we use our wild rose petals – dried for our tisane, or in potpourri for the washroom. However, I ate at Toqué this week and found a few petals strewn on a ‘salade seche’ as a garnish accompanying a foie gras terrine with a sherry-honey reduction and it worked marvellously, both visually beautiful while providing a nice fresh, floral counterpoint. But again, these were less fragrant than what I generally work with and so it didn’t taste like a mouthful of perfume. (Plus, it was with a delicious Gewurztraminer, wow..)
July 28, 2007 | Registered CommenterNancy Hinton

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