Chanterelle Mushroom and Nettle Pesto Pizza
As the sun begins to wane and the days gradually grow shorter, late summer and early autumn herald a bountiful season of foraging. Nature generously offers a cornucopia of edible treasures during this time, beckoning adventurous food enthusiasts and seasoned foragers alike to explore the landscape in search of culinary delights. Among the most sought-after finds are the vibrant chanterelle mushrooms and the unassuming yet nutritious nettle tops. When skilfully combined, these two ingredients create a winning partnership that captures the essence of the season. In this culinary journey, we will delve into the art of foraging for chanterelle mushrooms and late season nettles, and discover the magic that unfolds when they come together in the kitchen with a delicious pizza recipe. So, don your foraging gear, put on your gloves, and let's embark on a gastronomic adventure through late summer and early autumn, where nature's pantry is brimming with delectable treasures waiting to be discovered.
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The Winning Combination of Chanterelle Mushrooms and Nettle
Late summer and early autumn are prime seasons for foraging, offering a treasure trove of culinary delights from nature's bounty. Among the most sought-after finds are chanterelle mushrooms and nettle tops, two ingredients that, when combined, create a winning combination in the kitchen.
Foraging for Chanterelle Mushrooms
The first step in foraging for chanterelle mushrooms is accurate identification. These vibrant fungi boast a bright yellow to orange hue and a distinctive funnel-like shape with ridges instead of gills underneath. Look for them in wooded areas, often near oak, beech, or coniferous trees. Mushroom foraging requires utmost caution, especially if you're new to the activity. While chanterelles are generally safe to eat, there are look-alike species that can be toxic. Ensure you can positively identify chanterelles or go foraging with an experienced companion.
Read this post to learn more about Identifying Chanterelle mushrooms and their look-alikes.
Foraging for Nettle Tops
Nettles are both easily recognisable and infamous for their stinging hairs. They grow in patches in moist, shaded areas. Wear gloves to avoid getting stung. Nettles have serrated leaves and are in their prime in late summer and early autumn. The young, tender tops of nettle plants are your target. Snip the top few inches of the plant using scissors or garden shears. The stinging sensation disappears once the nettles are cooked or dried, making them safe to handle.
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The Winning Combination: Chanterelle Mushrooms and Nettles
Now that you've successfully foraged for chanterelle mushrooms and nettle tops, it's time to explore how these two ingredients form a winning combination in the kitchen.
The Chanterelle Mushroom and Nettle Pesto Pizza is a culinary masterpiece that encapsulates the essence of late summer and early autumn foraging.
This recipe harmoniously combines the mild, earthy, slightly nutty flavour of nettle tops with their unique depth of flavour when transformed into pesto, complemented by the delicate, fruity, and peppery taste of chanterelle mushrooms. Together, they create a symphony of earthy and umami flavours that dance on your palate. Beyond taste, the textural contrast is a revelation as the tender nettle pesto provides a creamy base for your culinary creations, while the chanterelle mushrooms contribute a satisfying, meaty chewiness, elevating your dishes and offering a delightful mouthfeel.
Additionally, the nutritional value of nettle tops, rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, complements the richness of the cheese and other ingredients, providing a healthy and well-rounded element to your meal. Lastly, this combination is a celebration of the season's bounty, as late summer and early autumn are the perfect times to find both chanterelle mushrooms and nettle tops, making your dishes not only delicious but also deeply connected to the time of year.
Late summer and early autumn foraging provide a delightful opportunity to uncover culinary treasures like chanterelle mushrooms and nettle tops. When used together in your recipes, they offer a wonderful fusion of flavours, textures, and seasonal celebration, creating memorable dishes that truly capture the essence of this abundant and fruitful time of year.
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Chanterelle Mushroom and Nettle Pesto Pizza Recipe
For the Pizza Dough:
225g plain flour
5g caster sugar
15ml olive oil
120ml warm water
7g active dry yeast
For the White Sauce:
30g unsalted butter
15g plain flour
240ml whole milk
Salt and pepper to taste
For the Nettle Pesto:
60g fresh nettle leaves (wear gloves when handling)
20g fresh basil leaves
40g grated Parmesan cheese
40g toasted pine nuts
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
120ml extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
For the Toppings:
120g fresh chanterelle mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
40g fresh rocket
120g mozzarella cheese
Chilli flakes or Chilli oil (optional, for added heat)
Prepare the Pizza Dough:
In a small bowl, combine warm water and caster sugar. Sprinkle the yeast over the water and let it sit for about 5 minutes, until it becomes frothy.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour and salt. Make a well in the centre and pour in the yeast mixture and olive oil. Stir until a dough forms.
Knead the dough on a floured surface for about 5-7 minutes until it becomes smooth and elastic. Place it in a greased bowl, cover with a clean kitchen towel, and let it rise for 1-1.5 hours, or until it doubles in size.
Prepare the White Sauce:
In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in the flour and cook for about 1-2 minutes until it turns lightly golden.
Gradually whisk in the milk, making sure to remove any lumps. Cook, stirring continuously, until the sauce thickens, about 3-5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
Prepare the Nettle Pesto:
Wearing gloves, blanch the nettle leaves in boiling water for about 1-2 minutes. Drain and immediately transfer to an ice water bath to stop the cooking process. Drain again.
In a food processor, combine the blanched nettle leaves, basil, Parmesan cheese, pine nuts, and garlic. Pulse until the ingredients are finely chopped.
With the food processor running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil until the pesto reaches your desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Assemble and Bake the Pizza:
Preheat your oven to 245°C (475°F). If you have a pizza stone, place it in the oven while preheating.
Roll out the pizza dough on a floured surface into your desired shape and thickness.
Transfer the rolled-out dough to a pizza peel or baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Spread the white sauce evenly over the pizza dough, leaving a small border for the crust.
Break up the mozzarella cheese into pinch size pieces and place all over the pizza, saving a little for after the mushrooms are on, covering the white sauce.
Evenly distribute the chanterelle mushrooms over the cheese layer.
Sprinkle the remaining mozzarella cheese over the top.
Drop teaspoons of the nettle pesto over the mushrooms.
Transfer the pizza to the preheated oven (or onto the pizza stone if using) and bake for 12-15 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the cheese is bubbly and slightly browned.
Remove the pizza from the oven and immediately scatter fresh rocket on top.
Optionally, sprinkle with chilli flakes or finish with a swirl of chilli oil for some extra heat.
Slice and serve your Chanterelle Mushroom and Nettle Pesto Pizza while it's hot. Enjoy!
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As we draw our exploration of late summer and early autumn foraging to a close, our attention naturally turns to the culinary gem that epitomizes the essence of this abundant time.. The Chanterelle Mushroom and Nettle Pesto Pizza. This recipe, lovingly crafted from the foraged delights of chanterelle mushrooms and nettle tops, stands as a testament to the seamless fusion of flavour, texture, and the spirit of the season.
The unassuming yet nourishing nettle tops, artfully transmuted into a silken pesto, provide the backdrop upon which the subtle earthiness and fruity undertones of chanterelle mushrooms elegantly unfold. Together, on a canvas of freshly baked pizza dough, they weave a symphony of tastes that both soothe and exhilarate the senses.
With each mouthful of this pizza, we revel in the bounty of late summer's generosity and early autumn's pledges. It is a culinary pilgrimage that commences with a foraging expedition, progresses through meticulous preparation, and culminates in a sensory feast.
The chanterelle mushroom and nettle pesto pizza serves as a reminder that food is not merely sustenance but also a delightful embodiment of the seasons, forging a profound and delectable connection with the natural world.
So, as the leaves morph into shades of gold and the air carries a hint of crispness, gather your ingredients, ignite the oven, and conjure this seasonal masterpiece. Let it serve as a testament that in every season, nature bequeaths its singular offerings, and the pleasure derived from discovering and savouring them is a treasure unto itself. Embrace the enchantment of late summer and early autumn, one slice of pizza at a time.
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