It’s morel mushroom season…mmmm! April showers bring May flowers AND a piece of mushroom heaven. Nothing is better than the thought of flourishing fungi, right? In fact, it is such an exciting time that people travel from afar to partake in a morel mushroom hunt through orchards and forests just to have a taste of the sponge-hatted shroom. Talk about a mushroom with some serious admirers.
The morel is king of the mushroom community offering an earthy, nutty flavor with a meaty texture that makes wild mushroom hunters and cooks giddy with joy. The caps usually begin to appear in April throughout the US and shroomers (aka mushroom hunters) come ready to dig around for the edible fungus because they have yet to be successfully grown in a commercial setting. Besides being a fun outdoor activity, finders of the coveted morel mushroom save some serious money on their mushroom eating habits. Just 2 ounces of the honeycomb shroom can be sold in the range of $25 to $50 and may be difficult to find in stores in the fresh form.
Mushrooms used to be a food that landed in the extreme yuck category for me, but luckily I changed my ways so that I can enjoy the pleasures of this mushroom with mystique. Found in an array of colors from black to tan or yellow, the hollow mushroom is low in calories, high in protein and full of vitamins and minerals. A nutritious cup of morels holds a punch of potassium, phosphorus and calcium with a healthy supply of vitamin D.
Hunting the beauties down is the hard part. The easy part is cooking them up. The distinctive flavor is valued by chefs around the world making every dish that includes the morel a delicacy. So when you do get your hands on the rare woodsy mushroom, consider these drool-worthy recipes:
- Stay simple and gently sauté the conical topped mushroom with a bit of butter, pepper and salt. Delightful!
- Get fancy with this ricotta gnocchi with fresh peas and morel mushrooms.
- For the cooler spring day, make a delicious bowl of morel mushroom soup.
- A classic way of preparing the prized mushroom is to fry them up!
- Enjoy morel mushrooms as a sauce and pair with your protein of choice like chicken or turkey tenderloin or serve on top of pasta.
A mushroom is just a mushroom until you try a morel.
Have you ever gone mushroom hunting? What would you make with your morel mushrooms? Share your thoughts in the comments section please!