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?
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.
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
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.