I think it is its richness and wonderful hearty texture that I like so much. The morel forces you to really chew it.
They have a honeycomb type construction. And hollow stems. I spent many an hour trimming the stems and cleaning off the hard bits in my restaurant days. But I’ll never forget those morel and Marsala stew smells wafting through the kitchen while I worked away.
Inside they are cream and fleshy.
They can be very large or very small, but always with a cone shape.
They must always be cut to equal each other in size before you cook them so that they cook evenly.
They can be hunted in many parts of the country, which is the best part. When Mount Saint Helen erupted, people hauled morels away by the car full because morels love ash and burnt wood.
So that is where to look for them when you go hunting.
My friend Jon Rowley, who is in my book Food Heroes, sent these to me.
I heard he had hunted oceans of morels. I told him I was jealous. He sent me a box full.
Always cook morels simply.
Start with a shallot, because it is most subtle and sweet.
Dice it finely.
Sweat it in butter until they soften.
Add the morels and let them soften too, releasing all of their mushroom essence.
Deglaze with the best liquid of all liquids–Marsala wine. Let it all simmer and stew slowly until the mushrooms are soft and just a bit of liquid is left.
Sprinkle with your favorite herb and toss the morels on top of some fresh pasta or just eat them on their own. It is the taste and smell of earthy comfort.
Have you ever hunted mushrooms before? What is your favorite mushroom?
“Morels in Marsala”