This is the time of year where the only kind of hunting I can get behind takes place … hunting for morel mushrooms. Here in the US Midwest, it’s a fairly popular weekend activity and since they’re only in season a couple of weeks out of the year, it takes a little timing to find any.
Morel mushrooms are wild mushrooms that grow in the Spring near creek beds and under fallen trees. They are very distinctive looking and have a wonderful flavor and texture. They can run from $20-30 per pound at the market, so they really are a gourmet ingredient! They can be roasted in the oven, cooked on the grill, or even added to pizzas. Here are some recipes to get you started and let me know if you have any others that you’d like to share!
Morel Wine Sauce
I used white wine here but you can also substitute other wines like red wine, Madeira, and Marsala.
- 1 lb morels, sliced lengthwise
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 green onions, chopped
- 1/2 cup white wine
- Salt to taste
- Heat oil in a skillet and add the morel mushrooms and green onions. Cook until the morels are slightly browned.
- With a slotted spoon, remove the morels and as many onion pieces as you can easily get to a plate. Leave any remaining oil, and don’t worry about getting every last onion piece.
- Add the white wine and salt. Boil the liquid until is had evaporated to the consistency of syrup. Watch this carefully to get the right texture.
- Add the morels and green onions back to the skillet and briefly mix everything together. Remove from the heat and serve over anything (pasta, rice, etc).
Asparagus and Morels
- 1/2 lb fresh morels, sliced lengthwise
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 bunches asparagus, cut into 1 inch pieces
- 1 shallot, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the shallot pieces, garlic, morels, and asparagus. Cook until the morels are browned and the asparagus is tender, usually 8 to 10 minutes.
Morel Mushrooms with Peas
- 1/2 oz dried or 12 fresh morel mushrooms
- 1 inch cube fresh ginger, peeled
- 4 cloves garlic
- 3 tbl veg. oil
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 1/4 tsp ground turmeric
- 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
- 6 oz tomatoes, peeled and minced
- 2 cups fresh shelled or defrosted frozen peas
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp garam masala
- Rinse off dried morels, soak in 1 1/2 cups water 20 to 30 minutes or until tender. If using fresh there is no need to soak. Drain and save soaking liquid, straining it through a clean piece of cloth. Cut each mushroom in half lengthwise.
- Blend ginger, garlic and 1/4 cup water into a smooth paste. Heat oil in a 2 1/2 to 3 qt. pot over medium heat, add paste, stir and fry for 1 minute.
- Add coriander, cumin, turmeric, and cayenne, stir and fry for another minute.
- Add minced tomato, stir and fry for about 3 minutes, mashing the tomato with stirring spoon, until you have a relatively smooth paste.
- Add morels and strained soaking liquid (or 1 1/2 cups water if using fresh morels), peas, and salt. Bring to a simmer, cover, lower heat and simmer gently for 10 minutes.
- Add garam masala, stirring to mix.
Pan-Fried Gnocchi with Morels and Fiddleheads
- 2 Tbs Olive Oil, give or take
- 1 9-oz Package Fresh Gnocchi
- 3-5 Fresh Morels, halved (sub any wild mushroom)
- 1/3 Cup Fresh Fiddlehead Ferns, washed and dried (sub asparagus tips*)
- 1/4 Cup Roasted Red Pepper, diced
- 2-3 Canned Water-Packed Artichoke Hearts, sliced
- 1/8 tsp Salt, plus more for seasoning
- Fresh Black Pepper
- Slice your morels in half and inspect them carefully for dirt and critters. Since morels are foraged for in the wild, they sometimes have surprises hiding inside. Just saying.
- Heat a well-seasoned cast-iron skillet or non-stick pan over medium high heat. Add halved morels and a teaspoon or so of oil. Saute until golden brown, 2-3 minutes, adding a pinch of salt. Set aside.
- Add the ferns, roasted pepper, and artichoke hearts to the pan, with a teaspoon or so more oil if needed. Add 1/8 tsp salt to season. Saute for 2-3 minutes until tender and the artichoke hearts and ferns are beginning to color. Remove from pan and set aside.
- While the pan is still hot (medium-high heat), add the raw gnocchi and enough oil to coat well. Cook for 3-4 minutes until golden brown on all sides and slightly puffy. Once cooked through, add the fern/artichoke/pepper mixture back to the pan and toss gently until well combined. Season with more salt and pepper if needed.
- Plate, adding the cooked morel mushrooms to the top before serving.
*confession: I would absolutely sub asparagus only because I think fiddleheads look really bizarre. That’s totally just me, though …