Wednesday, April 30, 2008

morels? no problem!

A friend of mine, an avid mushroom hunter, gave me some of his most recent morel haul. So generous! It was my first time having morels to cook with, so he also gave me preparation and cooking instructions.

Soak them for about an hour in salted water? No problem!

Drain them, dust them with flour and fry them in butter? No Problem!!

Enjoy these simply-cooked, luxurious morsels with a beer? NO PROBLEM!!!

Meaty and earthy yet delicate...I can see why people are maniacs for these shrooms. And darn! Apparently I missed a class dedicated to these fanatic-having fungi at the Kitchen Conservatory this week. Kelly from Sounding my Barbaric Gulp went, and was in charge of the ravioli. This was just after she posted about her fried false-morels (heh. peckerheads!). Now she needs your help, morel-ites...are these morels she found too dry?

So now I need to get my butt in gear and go hunting...the season is short!


KELLY said...

Thanks for the shout-out, Stef!

I really hope I get to eat those shrooms today...I'm thinking of having them over risotto! Yum.

Anonymous said...

Nice!!!! To anyone who has eaten these delicious mushrooms, your mouths should be watering. It will be nice to look back on this article when it is long past the season and rekindle the thought of savoring these beauties. Long live MORELS!

Anonymous said...

Breading and frying seems to be the fad thing to do with mushrooms right now. I personally fail to understand doing this. You lose so much of the mushroom's lovely flavor and texture this way.

The salt water soak is also just a waste of time, and makes for salty mushrooms in my experience. I grew up in a household run by a serious hobbyist mycologist, and have been mushrooming since I was 5. I've never, NEVER soaked a shroom in saltwater and had it make any differance other than to make salty shrooms. Wash them off to get the bugs out, but that's all you need.

Then, saute them in a bit of butter, maybe some shallots, and eat them with whatever tickles your fancy. That way you really get to appreciate the texture and flavor, especially when it comes to morels- the second most expensive mushroom in the world practically.

ironstef said...

ether...I may have not worded this correctly. I just dusted the mushrooms lightly with flour...kind of like how you would dust a chicken cutlet to make chicken scallopine. It just helps to brown them a little better without mucking them up or overpowering them. And I didn't deep fry was more of a sautee in butter...just lots of butter :)

as for the soaking...I didn't find the results too salty at all. With all those gorgeous nooks and crannies, I'd worry that simply trying to wash them would miss some

Anonymous said...

ether...Having read your comment I could not help but to chide in. I too have been "hunting" morels, chanterelles, puff balls, shaggy mane, hen of the woods etc., since I was a child. I am also and Executive Chef and am very familiar with the methodoligy of cooking mushrooms. The method described by Iron Steph is no "fad",it has been around forever. When lightly dusted and sauteed you get a crispness that does not inhibit the flavor. In fact, it adds a texture to enhance the rich delicious flavor.
You are correct in that there are many other applications as well for morels (I had them last night in a duxelles with wild turkey). Sauteing as Steph has described is a great starting point.
I have also never had a problem with salt in the water. First of all you do not over salt the water...not to mention over soaking the mushroom. It does help in the release of tiny dirt particles in the flesh of the mushroom (try it on greens- mustard, turnip, collard etc.), not to mention the insects that sometimes call it home. Happy "hunting"!

Maria said...

Those look absolutely wonderful!!

A.C. said...

Just beautiful! My father-in-law just got back from the hunt (for deer) with a bunch of morels he found near his cabin. It's too bad he lives so far away, I can only imagine how good they are fresh from the woods!