Chanterelles, an autumn treasure, have a slight finish of pepper on the tongue and smell of apricots. With their fruity and woody flavors, these mushrooms are excellent in pasta dishes, and their tulip shape makes them a beautiful addition to the plate. Scallops are lovely here too, as they lend a delicacy to the earthiness of the chanterelles.
Chanterelles are just one of the incredible variety of wild mushrooms. In the autumn months, when you see wild mushrooms begin to pop up at the market, explore the different varieties. Morels with their spongy cones absorb flavors from sauces wonderfully. And king trumpets sliced and sauteed in butter are splendid as the main course. Or if you’re curious to forage your own, find an expert guide and go picking for them in early fall, right after the first rain.
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
8 ounces fresh chanterelle mushrooms cleaned and roughly town lengthwise
Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 garlic cloves, minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 pound large sea scallops (about 16)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1 pound linguini pasta
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil.
Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a medium skillet over high heat until almost smoking. Add the mushrooms and saute for 2 to 3 minutes, until softened and browned. Lower the heat to medium, add the lemon juice and garlic, and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, transfer to a bowl and set aside. Keeping the heat at medium, add the wine and stir with a wooden spoon to loosen up the mushroom bits from the bottom of the skillet. Add the cream and cook to reduce the liquid for 5 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until it has a sauce-like consistency. Remove from the heat and cover.
Rinse the scallops under cold water and pat them very dry with paper towels. (Drying the scallops will enable them to form a better crust while searing.) In a large nonstick skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the scallops in several batches and sear for 2 minutes on each side. Finish each batch by adding a couple of cubes of butter to the pan, letting it melt and stirring to coat the scallops. Remove the scallops from the skillet and set aside. Cover loosely to keep warm.
Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook according to the package instructions for al dente. We like to take our pasta out 1 to 2 minutes early so that it stays firk to the bite after it’s finished in the pan. Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of the starchy cooking water. Transfer the pasta to the pan with the sauce and warm the pasta in the sauce over medium heat. If the sauce needs loosening up, mix in a scant 1/4 cup cooking
water or more as needed. Add the mushrooms to the pan and toss with the pasta, then finish with the parsley and lemon zest. Season with salt and pepper. Divide the pasta among 4 plates and top each with the scallops. Serve immediately.
TO CLEAN MUSHROOMS, use a mushroom brush or toothbrush to whisk away any surface dirt. To clean smaller particles of dirt trapped in the gills on the underside of the cap, brush the mushrooms under running water. Blot with a paper towel to dry.