Wednesday, May 22, 2013

To Compete Well, Eat Well: Morel Mushrooms

I am very fortunate to live in a part of the world where the elusive Morel Mushroom grows in the month of May. If you've never had these guys before, have them! Now! Even if you are a mushroom hater. Yes, they look like a brain. Get over it, because they are YUMMY.

My family has a property in Richland Center, WI where we go Morel hunting every spring. They are a fussy, tricky thing to locate, because they only grow in really specific conditions: south facing slopes on spongy ground, under dead elm trees, in May when the soil reaches 55 degrees. Since they are so rare and hard to see, they are a blast to find! I have gone a few times this year with my mom - the first time out we found 180 of them! 

Wahoo!! Fresh morels from the forest floor.
Finding morels is a big part of the fun, but they are also delicious. They are not gross and slimy like many typical varieties of grocery store mushrooms - but firm, earthy and rich.

First and foremost: You have to soak these guys for about an hour before you prepare them. Lots (like a billion) of little weird creatures live inside one morel, so soak them in a bath of salted water. You will be amazed by what emerges! When I prepare them, I lightly saute them with asparagus, freshly chopped garlic and shallots, a little salt and pepper - TO DIE FOR. You don't have to do much; they are wonderful on their own.

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