Spring is upon us.
I have been overwhelmed with all of the things to do. Between fishing, foraging for wild asparagus, turkey hunting, and looking for mushrooms, it’s easy to find a reason to spend the day outside. The recent rainfall in the area has brought with it some of everyone’s favorite spring edible- the morel mushroom.
Prior to this year, I had very little experience with morels. In restaurants, you seldom get to work with the delicacies fresh, and you’re lucky if you work somewhere with a stock of dried morels. After recording a podcast earlier this spring with Forage Colorado about finding the elusive fungus, I was determined to find them this year.
And I did just that.
After a few days of rain, I was walking along a river bank without much hope of finding any mushrooms. We got closer to the bank to look at a bird across the river and when I turned around to get back to the trail and bingo- a big ol’ patch of morels was sitting right in front of me. Listening to advice from the podcast, I scoured the area and turned up a decent haul for my first real morel find.
Clearly- morels were on the menu for lunch that day.
As with any mushroom, the key to successful cooking is to let the resident flavors shine. After a quick saute in butter with a decent pinch of salt, wild mushrooms add something to the dish that can’t be duplicated with anything else.
Here’s how I did it (and how I treat 99% of all mushrooms) :
1 tablespoon of butter + 1 tsp high heat cooking oil (to prevent burning)
2 sprigs thyme
3 cloves of crushed garlic
pinch of salt
Slice morels in half lengthwise and add them to the pan, flat side down, once the butter is beginning to brown. Saute on high heat, basting with butter as the mushrooms cook. Once the first side has taken on a delicious brown color, flip and repeat the process on the other side.
At this point, you can eat them like popcorn, or put them on top of a steak. Wild mushrooms add an incredible depth of flavor to any dish. I added them to some oyster mushrooms I found the day before and put it on top of a smallmouth bass filet
If you haven’t ever tried morels you don’t know what you’re missing out on. Get out there and go find some! Here are some resources you can use to help you:
My podcast with Orion Aon of Forage Colorado-
Orion’s blog (TONS of information on finding morels)-