Morel Mushrooms

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!

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9 Responses to “Morel Mushrooms”

  1. i love me some morels! glad you were able to find them this late in the season. they’ve been gone from my neck of the woods for a month or so :-/ they are definitely one of the tastiest around!

    - Rick

  2. I’ve never tried morels, and I know they will be impossible to find here, but you’ve made me crave them so much! I like how you describe them, they sound oh so delicious. Gorgeous picture, too!

  3. I LOVE morels. I always eat some for Christmas. Here in France you can buy dry morels (then yes you have to soak them) but they are quite expensive too.

    Here’s a typical french recipe than can be easily veganized (with soy cream and margarine) :

    http://monjura.actifforum.com/les-specialites-gastronomiques-et-les-recettes-de-la-taniere-f25/la-croute-aux-morilles-maison-11-fevrier-2007-t179.htm

  4. Hi, VivreVegan! The photos of that recipe are killing me! It looks delicious!

  5. It IS delicious. Oh Christmas, where are you ?

  6. Morels are amazing.. I hunted yesterday and found enough for my lunch today! Yes.. You have to soak them to get the bugs out. There a itty bitty microscopic ones. Slice them in half and soak them overnight in plain or salted water, rinse, and prepare!

  7. Thanks for the tip, Dawn! I’ll definitely try that next time I get my hands on some morels.

  8. I’m obsessed with morels!!! I live in Michigan, so I can just go out in the woods in the spring time and find mine fresh. Morel hunting is by far my favorite hobby now. Anyways, I’ve tried eating morels a million different ways, but here are two of my favorites:

    1. I leave them whole, stuff fresh chopped leaks, vegan margarine, and a splash of liquid aminos (I’m sure soy sauce would do the trick too)inside. Then I wrap them in foil and bake for 25 minutes at 350F. That’s it!

    2. This other recipe is a sauce that I like to pour over pasta –
    8 ounces sliced morels
    1 tablespoon vegan margarine
    1 tablespoon olive oil
    1/2 cup dry red wine
    1 cup veggie broth
    2 tablespoons flour
    3 tablespoons cold water
    salt and pepper, to taste
    1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
    Preparation:

    Sauté mushrooms in butter and oil for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally; add red wine and simmer for a few minutes. Add veggie broth and simmer to reduce a bit, about 5 minutes. Combine flour and cold water and whisk until smooth. Stir into the mushrooms until well blended. Season to taste and simmer for about 1 minute, until thickened. If too thick, add a little more broth. Add parsley and salt and pepper to taste.
    Makes about 1 1/2 to 2 cups.
    This ones good with any mushrooms, but with morels it’s out of this world!

  9. Thanks so much for the great recipes, Katie!