We hit the jackpot last night, a few days after the last heavy rain. I’m quite sure there is no mushroom more worthy of portraiture. The morel reminds me of a sea sponge, the brain, and the inside of an ant hill; the flavor delicate, earthy, and transporting. It’s a once-in-a-season treat that turned our simple Sunday evening plans for grilling into a celebratory feast.
But, we didn’t grill these babies. I didn’t want to lose the rare treasures to a sauce, either, so in order to preserve the melt-in-your-mouth, velvety texture as a stand-alone, we subjected them to the tried and true method of BBF – Battered, Breaded, and Fried, and the results had us in a fit of gastronomic joy.
– However many big, beautiful morels you can gather
– Your favorite batter (I used two duck eggs, herb salt, and a splash of cream)
– Cornbread crumbs (We always make Mollie Katzen’s cornbread from the Moosewood Cookbook, subbing einkorn flour and a course, stoneground cornmeal. Any breading, with or without gluten, would work here, but we found that the subtle sweetness of cornbread was a perfect accompaniment to bring out the best of the earthy mushroom flavor).
Slice the morels into thick, 3/4 inch slices.
Batter generously, and then dredge in breading.
Add enough butter to a heavy frying pan for an 1/8″ depth (I used a little over 1/2 stick), and heat over a medium-low flame. Add battered and breaded morels to the pan in a single layer and cook until they a golden, crispy brown on all sides, turning frequently and keeping the butter at a nice bubble, but not so hot that it smokes. You may have to do this in batches depending on the size of your pan and quantity of mushrooms.
These are best enjoyed while they are still hot.
We served with caramelized onions, grilled marinated eggplant and grass-fed steaks, sliced thin, and pretty much felt like royalty.
With any luck, there will be one more flush before the season ends.
If you have morels near you, what is your favorite way to prepare them?
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