Morel Mushrooms

May 24, 2010

Magic Morel

Morels look as though they’re from another planet. They’re an outer space and alien mushroom. And, not unlike asparagus, they cost the earth. I bought a small paper bag of them at the market on Saturday for $10. I didn’t have any plans for them in particular, I just wanted them. And so I was restrained in some other purchases. I passed on an aromatic and Pepto-Bismal pink bouquet of lilacs and treated myself to a homely bag of morels that smelled of the woods. When I got home, this is how I cooked them. I ate them piping hot straight out of the pan, standing at the stove. A simple, satisfying and greedy late-afternoon lunch for one.

Serves one

2 tablespoons of olive oil

1 shallot, minced

about 2 cups fresh morels, brushed clean and roughly chopped (I halve them lengthwise to ensure that there aren’t any critters residing inside – there were none, but it can happen)

3 cloves of garlic, minced

fresh thyme, a few stems

sea salt

freshly ground black pepper

Heat olive oil in a medium sized pan over medium-high heat, swirl to cover the pan bottom. Make sure your pan is not too small, you don’t want to crowd and steam them. Add the shallots and let them sizzle, stir them about so as not to scorch. Add your chopped morels, turn the heat up a little bit, if you like. Cook them down for a few moments, then add the garlic. A lovely woodsy, garlicky, heady perfume (who needs lilacs?) will fill the air. You may need to add another small swirl of olive oil. Strip the stems of thyme over the morels, and then generously salt and pepper. That’s it. You can do as I did and spoon the mushrooms right from pan to mouth or, if you’re a tad more civilized, there are a million things you can do with them at this stage. Shall I list a few? You could: add a splash of apple cider vinegar and scatter them warm through a spring salad; toss them with a little more olive oil and stir into brown rice pasta; roll into a butterflied and (gently) pounded breast of chicken and bake; mix them into steamed greens, such as kale; top a grilled steak. In some of these other preparations, you will find that they feed more than one.

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2 Responses to “Morel Mushrooms”

  1. Debra said

    These spongy funky looking mushrooms are so good. I think they’re better cooked with a little oil than dry-fried like porcini. With the garlic it sounds heavenly. I’ll have to get some next week. They are about $27. a pound in Seattle.

  2. Julie said

    These look very intimidating but you make them sound so easy (and delicious). Maybe I will try.

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