Saturday, April 12, 2008


Looking out the dining room window around noon, I saw a friend walking across the parking lot with a shopping bag in his hand. This time of year, that means only one thing: morels! We buy a lot of morels at the front door. What we cannot use, we sell to other restaurants or to produce companies.

I'm really happy today because although I have received a couple of phone calls over the last couple of days asking if we were buying, these are the first morels that I have in hand. Yesterday's 80+ temperature no doubt helped things along and these morels were just picked this morning.

These in the photo are local black morels (Morchella elata), very small in size. The big blondes (M. deliciosa) will come later. There were several large black ones in this batch, but they disappeared!

My aunt and uncle made a rare foray to the big city from their house in Wild Wonderful, West By God (West Virginia for you non-locals) and happened to be sitting in the dining room when the morels arrived. I stuffed the two biggest morels with crab meat, dipped them in egg wash and then in flour, fried them, and sent them to the fam. The remaining large morels accompanied them home. My aunt is a great cook and I know that they will have an outstanding dinner.

The remaining small ones are going on tonight's special board. Our season here will last two to three weeks, weather depending. We'll switch to morels from our forager in Oregon once the local supply dwindles, just to extend our season. The ones we get from the west coast are most often what they call grey morels. These are actually just a color variant of the common or yellow morel (M. esculenta).

To clean morels, brush off any dirt and cut off any part of the stem that is tough. Slice the big ones open and make sure that they're clean inside. Although I have seen people wash morels in water, I'm not a fan. I think it hurts the texture.

The season is upon us. Eat up!

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