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Morel Mushrooms – Two ways

April 28, 2011

April showers + a few warm days = MOREL SEASON! 

Well, it is a bit more scientific than that, and, depending on where you live, the season could be earlier or later in the spring months.  Everyone has a different theory on the best way to hunt for this sought after mushroom.  But typically you can find them near dead or dying Elm, Sycamore and Ash trees, usually in moist areas or possibly right in your front yard. 

In grade school, I can remember hunting these very hidden gems with my Dad and even a couple times with my uncle, but none of our trips were very successful.   It was not until I was about 15 or 16 that I had that magical morel hunt.  One April day, directly after school got out, myself and a good friend of mine headed out into a small patch of woods near her home and found several bags of morels. We quickly ran back to her parents house, where we happily presented our prize and immediately fried the tasty morsels to indulge.  I have been hooked ever since.

I have had a few successful morel hunts since then and if you are lucky enough to find a  good spot it is a wise idea to return to it each year.  Happy hunting!

FRIED MORELS (my favorite way – simple and delicious)

Ingredients

  • 1 pound of fresh morel mushrooms, cleaned and halved
  • 1/2 cup oil OR butter (for frying)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 (4 ounce) packet saltine crackers, finely crushed
  • Paprika and black pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Clean the mushrooms carefully with a damp paper towel or a soft brush. Cut large mushrooms in half.
  2. Heat the oil in a large or cast iron skillet over medium heat. While the oil is heating, beat the eggs and milk in a bowl.
  3. In a ziploc bag, combine cracker crumbs, paprika and pepper.
  4. Lightly coat the mushrooms in the egg mixture, then toss mushrooms in the cracker crumbs  and finally place the coated mushrooms in the heated oil.
  5. Cook the mushrooms until they are golden brown on either side.
  6. When the mushrooms are evenly browned, remove them from the pan to drain on a paper towel or cooling rack.

Tip:  You may have to add more oil depending on the amount of mushrooms you are cooking.

Morel Cream Sauce

Ingredients 

  • 1 pound fresh morel mushrooms, cleaned and cut in half or quartered (depending on size) 
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 shallot (approx. 1/4 cup)
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1 cup low sodium chicken or beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/3 cup of cream
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

 Directions

  1. In a medium saucepan, saute shallot in 2 tablespoons of butter until lightly browned.
  2. Add morels and cook until the mushrooms start to release some of their liquid.
  3. Add the wine and bay leaf and cook until the wine is about 75 percent reduced (10 – 15 mins).
  4.  Add the broth, cream and thyme and boil until broth is  reduced to your desired sauce consistency.
  5. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve over meat or pasta. 

 

See below for suggested cleaning tips from The Great Morel:  http://thegreatmorel.com/index.shtml

“Once you get them home The Great Morel simply suggest rinsing thouroughly in water and halving the morels (cutting them lengthwise in half), at which point you should rinse again. Some may suggest soaking in salt water to kill off any critters, but not always necessary. Once rinsed it is suggested you place your morels in a large bowl or bowls and cover either with a damp paper towel or a damp scent free cotton cloth. Then simply place in your fridge. The Great Morel used to leave them soaking, but suggestions from other shroomers changed the game plan slightly. At least once a day re-dampen the towel just to keep them moist.”

“Notes: Salt water is acceptable by some and not by others. Those opposed say it makes the morels too salty. So if you choose salt, don’t let them soak too long.”

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Red permalink
    May 6, 2011 6:38 am

    Talk to me about recipe 1, lightly coating mushrooms in egg. Drizzle the egg over top? Toss mushrooms in egg? Brush egg onto mushroom?

    • Laura MacDougall permalink
      May 7, 2011 11:13 pm

      I tossed the morel into the egg mixture (egg and milk) and let as much excess run or drip off before throwing it into the coating. Thanks for asking!

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