Saturday, May 5, 2012

Morel Mushrooms

Every spring the conversation between my husband and me begins with vague references to a few warm days and what they may mean to the possibility of morel mushrooms appearing.  Once a few warm days have passed and the mushrooms begin popping up in the woods, the conversations turn to when we might begin seeing them for sale and what somewhat high place we might have to pay to actually enjoy some.  When I was a child, my family would hunt for them in the woods, but I was more adept at finding snakes than mushrooms.  Nonetheless, I grew up enjoying that brief but glorious period in the spring when morels are  at their peak.

A couple of weeks ago, my husband came home with 1/2 pound of the delectable treats.  Since there are only two of us in the household, 1/2 pound equated to two meals that included mushrooms.  If you have never prepared them before, here are the steps to follow:

1.  Soak them at least overnight and change the water often.  These mushrooms are also called sponge mushrooms because their exteriors resemble a sponge and provide a nice place for grit and small bugs to hide.  Soak and rinse repeatedly until you feel confident they are clean.

2.  Cut the mushrooms in half lengthwise.  This provides further inspection for bad spots, dirt, bugs, etc.

3.  Place on a plate a small mound of flour and season it with salt or seasoned salt, pepper, and any other spice you might like.

4.  Dredge each mushroom piece in the flour mixture.

5.  Heat on medium high heat some olive oil and butter--the oil keeps the butter from burning.

6.  Place the floured mushrooms in the pan.  Brown thoroughly on one side the then turn over.

7.  If all of the grease is absorbed, add more olive oil to the pan.

8. When golden brown on both sides, place on a plate and serve.  Yummmmmmmm!

 The picture below shows the finished product.  You may want to divide these on plates before serving or a fight could break out over who got more!  They are just that good.

If you have never tried fried morel mushrooms, give it a whirl.  They are a wonderful addition to any springtime meal.
- Nanette

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