I’ve been dying to try morel mushrooms for so long now, but I’ve never been able to find them in the past. When I realized it was finally morel season, I became obsessed with finding some. The only place I’ve found them so far is at the Hollywood Farmers’ Market, but I’ve read that they’re also at some markets in Santa Monica. I bought a large handful, partly because they’re pretty expensive, and also because I was a little worried they wouldn’t be able to live up to the hype, and I didn’t want to go all in if that was the case.
The first thing I did after getting them home was look online for recipes and prep information. Some sites said they needed to soak in salt water before cooking, and others said the worst thing you can do is soak them in water, because it dilutes the flavor. Mine were pretty small and seemed clean enough, so I just wiped them a bit. Soaking fresh mushrooms just seems wrong to me, but maybe some of you have more experience with morels and can lend some insight…
I decided to go with a simple preparation so that I could really experience the flavor and texture of the morels on their own. Mine were pretty small, but I still sliced them in half so that more surface area would get coated in “buttery” and salty goodness. I tossed them with a little white rice flour (one of the recipes I came across said this would yield a more crispy result), and then pan fried them until golden in some Earth Balance margarine. I finished them off with a little sprinkling of Maldon sea salt.
Then came the moment of truth – the tasting. For me, they totally lived up to the hype. I love the flavor of mushrooms, but I can sometimes be picky about the texture. A huge, soggy portobello just doesn’t do it for me. I prefer when the mushrooms are cut smaller and really caramelized. The flavor of the morels was amazing, and the texture was even better. They were firm, and even a little chewy, but not in a rubbery way. I could happily eat platefuls of them. Now I’m even more obsessed, so if any of you are morel fans and have favorite recipes, send them my way!