morels

 

speaking of spring, it is mushroom season in michigan.

usually, shrooming season in that zone is later in april. however, with the warmer temperatures a few weeks ago, the little buggers have popped up a little early.

fine by me.

if you happen upon a patch of morels and would like to forage them, simply cut them at dirt level. never pull them from the ground as this poses risk of damaging the mycelium, which is their “root” which will come again year after year. the mycelium grows in a circle, and spreads year after year, widening its radius.

i hunted these suckers down at my local grocery store. they are coming in from just an hour and a half north of me, in michigan. they cost $60 a pound. -no, i’m totally serious. but since we only bought enough for brian and i to savor slowly in a single meal, i spent only $10 on our portion.

did i blow our weekly budget because of it?

yeah. i did.

did i feel badly?

gosh no.

this is a seasonal treat. the rolls-royce of mushrooms, and they are only available for a limited time.

also, you live only once.

 

i didn’t have to debate at all with how i wanted to prepare these. i have been planning it carefully in my head for weeks:

sautee in butter.

lemon to cut the meatiness

thyme to accentuate its earthiness

romano to balance the tartness of the lemon

the rest of the meal was just as simple to plan. i wanted to keep the flavors pretty simple to give the shrooms a chance to shine, so i made thyme poached chicken. the added bonus was that chicken thighs are one of the cheapest meats i can get my hands on, so i wouldn’t feel too badly about spending so much on the shrooms.

cheese and zest covered morels

this turned out amazingly. decadent but light, earthy but bright, tender and savory.

if you are able to get your hands on this ground gold, snatch some up. morels are a delicacy and a wonderful treat to throw into an omelette, use as a side dish, or sautee for a bowl of pasta (if you’re into that sort of thing…)

don’t skip the sauce. it really makes the whole dish taste special.

here is what i did:

for the chicken:

6 chicken thighs

2 cups broth

1 tsp roasted garlic

handful of fresh thyme

salt & pepper

for the sauce:

juice from half a lemon

1/4 cup whole milk

1/4 cup broth

salt & pepper

to serve:

some zest from lemon

good amount of romano cheese, shaved

some chopped walnuts

method: start with the chicken. get a cast iron skillet nice and hot. put in a little bacon grease or oil. let it get thin and hot. put in the chicken thighs and let cook without moving for 4 minutes or so. flip. cook for 3 minutes.

pour broth, thyme, and garlic into pan. place lid over pan and turn heat down to low. cook for 15 minutes. season with salt and pepper.

for the sauce, combine all ingredients into heavy bottomed sauce pan and cook over low heat, until it begins to bubble. after first few bubbles appear, move away from heat and cover while it cools and thickens. serve over chicken.

cook mushrooms after giving them a good dunk in cold water then gently tossling them about over a clean towel to dry. over medium heat, get butter sizzling hot in cast iron skillet. put mushrooms into skillet and keep them moving until they turn brown and tender. serve with chicken and sauce. top with lemon zest and romano cheese.

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6 thoughts on “morels

  1. I’ve had dried morels before, but never have seen the fresh ones available. Some mushrooms can stand up to being dried, but others cannot; I will have to look for these in the fresh form (as they still tasted kinda dry and cardboard-like when reconstituted).

  2. A friend of mine found beautiful morels popping up this week in her friend’s yard (Eugene, OR) covered with organic mushroom compost from last year. I’ve been hunting for these delicacies for the past five years in the Central Cascades and find it challenging, but oh so rewarding and wish my hunt was so easy! I plan to try your recipe tonight and look forward to tasting these earthly delights, tonight!

    • i wish i were lucky enough to find them popping up myself! i’ve been keeping my eyes out, but i’m not sure if they even grow in my area!
      please let me know how you like them. happy mushroom hunting!

  3. Very excited to try this. We just spent the weekend in Central WI at my parents property and foraged about 1 1/2# of these beauties! Feeling very lucky.. even going to bring a few into work (restaurant) for a special.

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