Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Cooking Morel Mushrooms

        Since some readers of this blog are not familiar with the delicacy of morel mushrooms and/or how to cook them (finding them is another story), I am adding this pictorial post today.  For you experienced mushroom hunters and fryers, just disregard this post.

    When Country Guy brings the bags of mushrooms into the kitchen I begin by cutting them in half or quarters, or even into more pieces, if they are large because we like our mushrooms crispy.  If the pieces are too large they will be soggy.
     Then I soak them in cold water to which a couple of tablespoons of salt has been added.  I've always heard it is good to soak them overnight--if you can wait that long.  Since I rinse them several times before adding the salt to get rid of most of the bugs, I generally let them sit in cold water just until I’m ready to cook them.  Because we've been waiting a year for a taste of morels, the first batch of mushrooms usually soaks only a few minutes!  This has worked well for us for many years now, so I can safely say soaking overnight is not necessary.  Here is a picture of some we found this weekend, cut up, soaking, and ready to cook.
     When you are ready to begin cooking, add ½ c. (one stick) butter and ½ c. vegetable oil to a large skillet and heat on medium high.  As you can see, one skillet is not enough to satisfy our appetites, so if you have lots of morels, plan to cook more than one skillet full at a time.
     Drain the mushrooms and roll in flour to generously coat them.
     Before I put the mushrooms in the hot oil, I usually sprinkle a little flour in the skillet to see if it begins cooking, so that I know the oil is hot enough. If it isn't hot enough the mushrooms tend to be soggy and full of grease.  Ugh!
     If so, I drop in as many mushrooms in a single layer as the skillet will hold.  
      Sprinkle these with salt and pepper to taste, and watch them carefully—morels are too scarce to let burn.  When one side is crispy and brown turn them over with a spatula to crisp and brown the other side.  Drain on paper towels.  
                        Don't you wish you could taste these morels?

     I have added a new category "Miscellaneous" to the "Recipes" page so that I can post this "recipe" there, too, to make it easier to find next year.


Anonymous said...

Sounds delicious! I am interested in knowing where to find them? I live in Missouri, would they have them here? Are there any kinds that are dangerous to eat?

Anonymous said...

Been there...done that....they are delicious!!!!!!!!!!

Country Girl said...

Yes, they are found in Missouri. I think it might be a little late in the season in southern Missouri but I'm sure they can still be found in the northern part of the state. The season only lasts a couple of weeks each year. They are found in woods and near streams. Many people say the best place is around dead elm trees.
There are no poisonous morels. As long as you only pick those mushrooms that look like sponges on top, they will be safe to eat.
If there is anyone reading these comments that have been mushroom hunting in MO, I'm sure others would like to hear of your experiences. Please post them here in the comment section.

cindy said...

I can't get anyone to take me hunting. I love hunting them much more than cooking them.

Anonymous said...

Yum! Wish we could find some around here!