Friday, June 6, 2008

Cooking Lesson (#1—Fresh Morels)

In response to a flood of requests (two), here is how to prepare fresh morels for the table. First, find, steal, or buy some morels.
Cut the mushrooms in half lengthwise. Evict any insects, slugs, arachnids, or other creatures. Knock off dirt. Do not rinse unless absolutely necessary.* Heat a saute pan. Add a lump of butter. When the butter is melted and bubbly, place the morels in the pan. Cook on medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Turn the morels. Cook for another 2-3 minutes.** Eat straight from the pan, or arrange on slices of toast, or mix with pasta, or stir into scrambled eggs.*** That's pretty much it. Bon appetit. * Much of the flavor of fresh morels is in the hymenium, or spore-bearing surface. When you rinse the mushroom, you wash away the taste. ** If the mushrooms are somewhat dry, you can add a little water and cover the pan for part of the cooking time. If they are particularly moist, you may wish to cook them longer (uncovered) to drive off excess water. *** There are thousands of other methods for cooking and serving morels (including the morel polenta I made for dinner last night), none of which are worth the time and bother.

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