|Morchella, true morel|
Today and throughout my adult life, I love mushrooms and use them in many dishes from the
|A Polish black morel|
In researching morels online I learned they grow throughout the country, even in Fairbanks, Alaska. Wikipedia shares: Morels have been called by many local names; some of the more colorful include dryland fish, because when sliced lengthwise then breaded and fried, their outline resembles the shape of a fish; hickory chickens, as they are known in many parts of Kentucky; and merkels or miracles, based on a story of how a mountain family was saved from starvation by eating morels. In parts of West Virginia, they are known as "molly moochers." Other common names for morels include sponge mushroom. Genus Morchella is derived from morchel, an old German word for mushroom, while morel itself is derived from the Latin maurus meaning brown.
Flash to a couple weeks ago at our local farmer's market where the ones I call the Mushroom people sell mushrooms of all kinds, buttons, shitake, etc. There at their table were dried morels! OMG. Whatever price they wanted I was willing to pay! Surely the saints had guided me there, hallelujah! When I asked how much and they said, "just $3.50 " I knew it was my lucky day." When I asked how to cook the morels, they told me to boil a cup of water to pour over the dried morels to reconstitute let them sit and soak up the water much as they will for about an hour and then saute them in "plenty" of butter quickly. They also recommended salt, but I am a freshwater cook so I skipped that. Jerry on the other hand never saw a salt shaker he didn't like and use vigorously.
I can report the morels are delicious; the tops resemble sponges and soak in the butter. They had a stronger taste than other mushrooms and almost earthy. But delicious. We had them for dinner along with chicken breast bits and veggie pasta. Here are photos of the process and the end meal on a plate. Now I hope the Mushroom people will have more, they sell varied mushrooms and even a stump if one is interested to grow his own. I know I pay more for their mushrooms than at the store, but they are very fresh and if I were not a devoted customer before, I am now because they sold me morels and satisfied that nagging curiosity.
|Dried morels soaking in boiled water|
|Morel broth left in the bowl..beefy looking, I added it to the pan in|
which I was sauteeing the morels in butter.
|Morel barely sauteed in butter on plate, next to 2|
penne pasta. Morels were 2-3 inches long
|Morels in skillet with chicken which was cooked ahead|
Morels are sauteeing in plenty of butter
|The grand meal awaits, morels are top right, above chicken breast bits, and|
a veggies with penne on the left...Divine dinner. Morels worth waiting for.