When it became clear last fall that we had an abundance of fabulous fungi around here, I started hoping that some of them would turn out to be morels. Well, sing hallelujah, they're out there!
OK, so we've only spotted this one so far. But where there's one, there must be others. And if it ever stops raining, we'll go hunting in earnest.
For those who may not know, the morel is a delectable little morsel of a mushroom found in the woods in spring. I had heard about them all my life, but had never found or tasted one until this week.
The hubby and I were out poking around, he prospecting for firewood and me hunting for wildflowers to photograph. From up on the path: "Hey Vic, look at this thing." He always spots the neatest stuff, so I hustled over, took one look, and stopped dead in my tracks. You coulda heard the angel choir from a mile away. Oh yeah baby, that's a morel!
We left it there while we finished our expedition, intending to pick it on the way back. However, our son was away that day. We knew he'd be interested too, so we noted the spot and waited a day. (They spoil quickly once picked.)
I ended up on Sunday afternoon scrounging around the pasture path in the rain looking for the thing. But it was worth it.
My sources say that morels are to be washed in cold water, sliced, and sauteed in a little butter. A dash of salt, and that's it. Our morel was maybe three inches tall, if that, and they're hollow, so we aren't talking a lot of meat here. Once cooked, there was only enough for one little taste for each of us. We gathered around the plate with salad forks, laughing at the silliness of it all, and divvied up our prize. (Picture the fossa pack in the movie Madagascar gathered around the salad bowl, tossing and salivating over the littlest lemur.)
The mushroom lives up to its reputation. The flavor is intense, like no other mushroom I've tasted. The texture is fresher, with none of the rubbery quality of button mushrooms or portabellas.
I can see now why people hunt them so eagerly, and why the best spots are closely guarded secrets. Our place fits the description of likely places for them to grow, and I'm hoping the woods will yield a few more of these little gems.
Click Here: Nature Notes.
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