There are certain foods that are far more than just ingredients. They can transform into art and can be luxurious in presentation. We know the usual suspects – caviar, truffles, foie gras, champagne – but there is an elusive forest treasure, a mushroom, that has become increasingly popular as Spring comes around.
It is odd in appearance, but delicious in taste, the Morel Mushroom is not farmed like most grocery store mushrooms, but rather it’s gathered in the wild. They are carefully picked, handled and sliced. This honeycombed fungus is the edible fruiting body of an underground organism called a mycelium, that forms a complex symbiotic relationship with trees to produce one of the most desired and delicious mushrooms in the world.
So, is there an art to cooking Morels? The foodies at Naturally North definitely believe so. They believe Morel mushrooms can be cooked in a way to amplify virtually any cuisine on every continent. The simpler the recipe, the better, so that you could really savour the appetizing flavour of these mushrooms. The possibilities are endless when it comes to dish’s that include Morels.
Here are some of our favourite Morel recipes:
Wild Morel Cream Sauce
Your introductory lesson to cooking with Morels. This is the ultimate sauce for pasta, meat, or fish.
Prep: 10 Minutes
Cook: 30 Minutes
Yields: 4 Servings
--> 20 grams of Naturally North Dried Morel Mushrooms
--> 1 tablespoon butter
--> 1/2 cup chopped onion
--> 1/3 cup finely chopped shallots
--> 1 tablespoon minced garlic
--> 1½ teaspoon salt
--> 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
--> 1/4 cup dry white wine
--> 2/3 cup heavy cream
--> 1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
--> 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1) Start by soaking mushrooms in water for 15 – 20 minutes to rehydrate. Give the Morels a quick pinch, they are ready to use when they feel plump. Note: Save the morel water and reuse to reach the desired level of sauciness when simmering the sauce for reduction.
2) Melt the butter in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat.
3) Add the morels, onion, shallots, garlic with 1 teaspoon salt (not all yet!), and pepper.
4) Cook for 12 minutes, or until liquid evaporates and the morels are tender, stirring occasionally. Adding more morel water if necessary during the cooking process.
5) Adding wine, cook for 5 minutes until the liquid evaporates, stirring occasionally.
6) Remove from heat. Then add the cream, cheese, and 2 tablespoons of parsley, stirring gently for 5 minutes or so.
7) Stir in the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Mince with fresh garnish, if desired. Serve immediately.
RISOTTO WITH ASPARAGUS AND MOREL RAGOÛT
This dish has a livelier, fresher taste than traditional risotto because the vegetables are cooked separately from the rice and then spooned over it in a rich ragout.
YIELD: Makes 4 main-course servings
ACTIVE TIME: 1 hr
TOTAL TIME: 1 hr
INGREDIENTS--> 3/4 oz dried morel mushrooms (1 cup) or 1/4 lb fresh
--> 6 1/2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth (52 fl oz)
--> 2 cups water
--> 1 lb medium asparagus, trimmed and cut diagonally into 1-inch-long pieces (about 3 cups)
--> 1/2 small onion, finely chopped (1/3 cup)
--> 2 tablespoons olive oil
--> 2 cups Arborio rice (about 13 oz)
--> 1/2 cup dry white wine
--> 2/3 cup finely gratedParmigiano-Reggiano (1 1/4 oz) plus additional for serving
--> 1/2 teaspoon salt
--> 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
--> 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon pieces
--> 1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
--> 1/2 cup frozen baby peas
--> 1 teaspoon finely grated fresh lemon zest
--> 2 teaspoons chopped fresh chives
1) If using dried morels, soak in warm water to cover 30 minutes.
2) Agitate dried morels in soaking water or fresh morels in cold water to dislodge grit, then lift from water, squeezing out excess. Pat dry with paper towels.
3) Cut morels (fresh or dried) crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices.
4) Bring broth and water to a boil in a 4-quart pot.
5) Add asparagus to pot and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until crisp-tender, 3 to 4 minutes.
6) Transfer asparagus with a slotted spoon to a large bowl of ice and cold water to stop cooking, then drain and pat dry.
7) Reserve 1 cup broth mixture for ragout and keep remaining broth at a bare simmer.
8) Cook onion in oil in a 5- to 6-quart heavy pot over moderate heat, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes.
9) Add rice and cook, stirring constantly for 1 minute.
10) Add wine and simmer briskly, stirring constantly, until absorbed for about 1 minute.
11) Add 1/2 cup hot broth mixture and simmer briskly, stirring constantly, until broth is absorbed.
12) Continue simmering and adding hot broth mixture, about 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly and letting each addition be absorbed before adding the next, until rice is tender and creamy-looking - 18 to 22 minutes. (There will be leftover broth mixture. Reserve for thinning risotto).
13) Stir cheese, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper into risotto, then remove from heat and let stand, covered, while making ragout.
14) Heat 2 tablespoons of butter in a 10-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until foam subsides.
15) Then sauté morels and garlic, stirring occasionally, until garlic is pale golden, for about 4 minutes.
16) Pour in 1 cup reserved broth and bring to a boil.
17) Stir in peas, asparagus, zest, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and simmer, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are heated through, for about 2 minutes.
18) Remove from heat and add remaining 2 tablespoons butter, swirling skillet until butter is incorporated, then season ragout with salt and pepper.
19) Thin risotto to desired consistency with some of leftover broth and season with salt and pepper.
20) Divide risotto among 4 shallow bowls. Spoon asparagus and morel ragout (with liquid) on top and sprinkle with chives.
Dried morels can be soaked and patted dry 1 day ahead and chilled, covered.MOREL & LEEK DUTCH BABY
Dutch babies are basically a cross between a pancake and a popover – fluffy, eggy and absolutely delicious. While they’re traditionally a sweet breakfast food, there’s no reason they can’t be savory instead.
--> 6 Eggs
--> 1 tsp Salt
--> 1 ½ cup Whole Milk
--> 1 ½ cups All Purpose Flour
--> ½ oz Dried Morels
--> White Portion of 1 Leek, finely sliced
--> 2 tbsp Unsalted Butter
--> Pinch of Salt
--> 1 tsp Fresh Thyme, minced
--> 1 tbsp Unsalted Butter
--> Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese
Optional: Tomato Jam Recipe
1) Rehydrate the dried morels & slice them into rings. Strain & reserve the soaking liquid.
2) Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
- Make the Batter
3) Whisk together all the batter ingredients to combine. Don’t continue whisking, you don’t have to make sure all the lumps are gone.
4) Strain the batter.
5) Preheat a cast iron skillet in the oven (we used a 7 1/2” skillet).
- Make the Bottom Mixture
6a) Melt the 2 tablespoons of butter in a frying pan or skillet. Add the leek and salt. Saute until the leek is softened & browned.
6b) Add the morels, the thyme, and 1 cup of rehydration liquid. Simmer to evaporate all the liquid.
7) Swirl the tablespoon of butter around the bottom of the pre-heated skillet.
8) Put the morel mixture in the skillet, and pour over the batter.
9) Return the skillet to the oven and bake until the dutch baby is well puffed (approx. 20-25 minutes). Do not open the door before 20 minutes.
10) Serve immediately, topped with grated parmesan and optionally with tomato jam on the side.