Ingredient of the Week: Morel Mushrooms
Wild mushrooms can add a great flavor to your dish, and morels are in season.
Thierry Rautureau has some tips for finding good morels in your local grocery store. “I like them medium-size, the size of a thumb is a good size for a morel,” he says. “And make sure they’re dry.” He also says to watch out for sand. “Morels have a tendency to be very sandy, so they need to be rinsed off in a big batch of water: move them around gently, and then drain.”
Tom Douglas cautions about finding things in the morels. “A false morel,” he says, “has that elongated stem and a detached top, whereas a true morel is attached at the stem. But it does have a hollow center, and sometimes there will be worms in the center.”
To prepare morels, Thierry says he likes to soak them in butter with shallots and a little bit of garlic, used sparingly to not overpower the flavor of the mushroom.
He also recommends making them with halibut. “I would pan-sear my halibut, I would finish it in the oven, take the halibut out of the pan, put some butter in the pan, put my morel in the pan, and stir them around with brown butter, add a little bit of chopped shallots at the last minute, and then finish with a little bit of brandy. Then I’d flambe the whole thing up, and put a little dollop of cream.”
Tom likes to make morels with sweet peas, linguine, a small amount of cream and some lemon zest.
He also says, to preserve this seasonal mushroom, to first cook them in butter and store them in freezer-safe Ziploc bags.
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