Cantharellus lateritius
The Smooth Chanterelle (Cantharellus lateritius) can be a locally common find in the summer woodlands of Illinois. For edible wild foragers, the sight of these brilliant-orange, wavy-capped vaselike mushrooms always is cause for preliminary excitement. That’s because, from above, the Smooth Chanterelle resembles the deliciously edible Yellow Chanterelle (Cantharellus cibarius). Unfortunately, the undersurface of this weakly flavored relative of Yellow Chanterelles reveals a disappointing discovery. Most people find the flavor of the Smooth Chanterelle quite ordinary.
But we’ve discovered a surprise: A recipe created in the summer of 2010 by Illinois chef Lasse Sorensen includes precisely this mushroom and is astonishingly good. One bite of Chanterelles a l’Orange will change everything you thought you knew about the flavor of Smooth Chanterelles.
You can learn more about this mushroom, along with 39 other edible wild mushroom species found around Illinois, including potential look-alikes, in the new book “Edible Wild Mushrooms of Illinois and Surrounding States” (2009 University of Illinois Press).