Gossamer Tapestry

Reflections on conservation, butterflies, and ecology in the nation's heartland

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Morel of the Story


There's this place I know. No, I'm not going to tell you where it is. In May something amazing happens there- at least the amazing thing begins there. It ends in my kitchen. This year, I harvested a half dozen morels.


Aren't they gorgeous? They have been soaking for a while- morels tend to harbor a lot of bugs and this is a good way to minimize them. I strain the soaking liquid and reduce it over gentle heat. It makes an excellent mushroom stock.


Morels have a very delicate flavor that I don't want to overpower. Quiche is perfect. I find that the mushroom flavor stands out better if I use Fontina cheese instead of Swiss or Gruyere. This cheese also gives the quiche an incredibly velvety texture. There are also lots of eggs and heavy cream in this. It's really bad for you- but then I only make one each year. Next year I may also harvest wild ramps, which are abundant around here, and use them instead of onions.

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19 Comments:

At 22:36, Blogger Ur-spo said...

You are a brave man. I remember that morals have a mimic, which is poisonous.
Funny you should post morels. I just finished a great science fiction book involving aggressive carnivorous plants, which included a parasitical morel mushroom. jolly good fun.

 
At 22:41, Blogger Doug Taron said...

Not a problem, the false morel is much rarer than askdi gar ack ack ack.....

 
At 22:49, Blogger Homer said...

We used to hunt morels in northern Michigan when I was a kid. I never ate any, because eating mushrooms was yukky back then.

 
At 00:54, Blogger wcs said...

Beautiful! We actually get them in our back yard, under a fir tree. Some years about half a dozen, other years maybe one.

I have yet to eat any, since I'm terrified of making a mistake with found mushrooms, but everybody around here tells me they're the real thing and good.

Still...

 
At 04:30, Blogger SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

It looks yummy Doug. I know where I am going to stop to eat the next time I am in Chicago. :)

 
At 06:59, Blogger Lemuel said...

Looks delish!

 
At 07:02, Blogger Gary Lee Phillips said...

For the purest morel flavor, omit the eggs and cheese. I recommend slivering up the mushrooms and frying them in butter (yes, butter.) Serve with a simple pasta such as linguini or angel hair. The Philistines in the audience can be permitted to add grated cheese if they insist, but I recommend only some freshly ground pepper or nutmeg.

Susan found a morel while we were out counting birds last Saturday, but I can't say where either for reasons that I suspect are different from your own.

 
At 08:51, Blogger Brettcajun said...

You are a brave man to eat that! :)

 
At 15:11, Blogger Stash said...

A little envious here.

The mushroom vendor at USGM (Union Square Greenmarket) hardly ever has any morels for sale. I'd have to get up at 8 am (HA!) on Saturday in order to snag a few.

Ramps season will be over in a week. And too short it was.

 
At 15:31, Blogger robin andrea said...

That looks quite yummy, doug. We found morels one spring up in Washington. We didn't harvest it, but it sure looked tasty.

 
At 15:44, OpenID liliannattel said...

Wonderful picture and soup.

 
At 18:09, Anonymous Mark H said...

I'm always amazed at ALL the life things you know.... NOW it's not JUST the Mushrooms name, etc., it's how to make it something exotic....a fresh quiche. NICE work, Doug. We STILL have NOT begun our first cheese batch.........but, it's on our mind stillllll........

 
At 22:16, Blogger Doug Taron said...

Homer- Have you tried them since leaving your mushrooms are yucky stage? You could have eaten this quiche. It's completely vegetarian with Crisco as the fat in the crust.

Walt- They are wonderful. I had veal "en fret" in Paris some years back. In this case,en foret meant with mushrooms. They used morels. I was in heaven.

Joan and Lem- Thanks. I was happy with the results.

Gary- Sounds wonderful. But that takes a way an excuse to make the quiche of death once a year.

Brett- Welcome to the tapestry. They were delicious. You are probably too far south for these.

Stash- Welcome to the Tapestry. I'll bet the prices are outrageous, too. I haven't harvested wild ramps yet this year. There may still be time.

Robin and Lillian- Thanks. It was a moment of sublime yumminess.

Mark- I think that quiche sounds scarier than it is. It's really just custard pie that's savory rather than sweet and has cheese in it. It's very easy to make.

 
At 15:18, Anonymous jimbo said...

I remember when I was a kid I found a whole grocery bag full of morels and picked them and took them home, but since we only ate overprocessed carbohydrate food-like products, my family would have nothing of them, so they were wasted.

 
At 18:25, Blogger Kathiesbirds said...

Those mushrooms look like sponges and I missed out on eating ramps in WV. I had never heard of them before.

 
At 21:46, OpenID merrimerri said...

THAT looks delicious!
My Dad was an advid mushroom seeker(gatherer?)
and loved to cook his finds...
(luckily non were disastrous..still here..lol)
:)

 
At 05:54, Blogger Roy said...

Apparently abundant 2 to 3 years after forest and ground fires, not that I want to give the game away Doug.{:)

 
At 07:27, Blogger cedrorum said...

I've never had morels. That quiche looks fantastic.

 
At 10:14, Blogger Doug Taron said...

jimbo- wasting an entire shopping bag of morels should carry criminal penalties.

Kathie- They do look like sponges. I have known ramps under the name wild leek for years. They are a nice native member of the onion family. About 5 years ago, I started hearing about them under the name ramps in culinary circles. They are delicious, and taste as different from both onions and garlic as either of those species do from each other.

merri- Thanks. Morels and chanterelles are about the only species of wild mushrooms that I will trust myself to identify correctly.

Roy- That doesn't give the game away. The observation is true, but not absolute. One year I found them growing in my own back yard (that was a very good year).

cedrorum- I have no idea whether they are found in your part of the country or not. They are well worth the effort to find and try them.

 

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