Monday, May 23, 2011

Foraging Fun

It's morel season in parts of Montana. Unfortunately, not any of the parts that I have been scouring the past weekend.

However, before my trek to Bozeman, I did have a successful hunt with my friends.

Having encountered the slightly toxic False Morels in my initial search, and little else, I was about to give up. But fortunately, we stumbled upon one in a small patch of scrabble and pebbles away from where we had previously trained our eyes. The thing with hunting mushrooms, once you spot one, you typically can't stop seeing them. 

In the end, we ended up with just under a half-pound of nice sized morels. Not too bad for searching over four different spots, and figuring we were about to get skunked. 

So here is my little recipe for a quick and tasty morel treat.

  • Half an apple
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • Butter
  • 1/2 pound morels, cleaned and split in half length wise
  • Freshly cracked black pepper
  • Salt
Chop the apple into a small dice and mince the garlic. Saute both in butter until the apples begin to brown. I would only use a small amount of butter maybe small pat. And the morels and let cook. Very quickly, the moisture from the mushrooms will begin to cook out and the morels will begin to soften. Once the liquid begins to bubble, drain it off the liquid and save it for later (you might want to use a strainer or something to keep the morel/apple mixture separate). Return the mushrooms to the pan on high heat add a bit more butter and re-saute the mushrooms until they brown up a bit.  Add freshly ground black pepper and salt to taste. Serve as a side.

Mushrooms contain a ton of water. If you try to cook them in oil right away, they just get soggy from essentially stewing in their juices and oil. Removing and saving the liquid that comes off from cooking not only allows you to concentrate the mushroom's flavor, it provides you with the base of a good mushroom broth you can use to flavor stocks and sauces at a later point in time.

If all goes well, I will be finding a new batch next weekend and coming up with some kick ass recipes for y'all.

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