Kristina and I were in the backyard the other day, and she said, “isn’t that a morel”? Sure enough, it was, and after looking around a bit I found a couple dozen more. As luck would have it, Kristina had just picked up some filet mignon cuts of steak, so we enjoyed these delicious mushrooms with a perfectly grilled filet mignon and some grilled Michigan asparagus, another delicacy in season only for a short time here in Southeast Michigan.
If you choose to go hunting for morels, either in the woods or in your own backyard, make absolutely sure you know what you’re looking for. There are false morels that can make you sick if you eat them. True morels, in addition to having a cap with that distinctive honeycomb look, are hollow in the center, and the stem and cap are connected, as you can see in the cut mushroom pic on the left. DO NOT rely on this post alone to identify morels though, take a look at more authoritative sources online. Here’s a link to a site with good morel ID info. Remember: if in doubt, throw it out.
I haven’t had a lot of experience cooking morels, so I tried a couple different ways to cook them. But that’s perfect for this site, because it is called Recipe Options, after all. So here’s two options for cooking morels, both very simple, to let the flavor of the mushrooms to dominate.
Ingredients (pan sauteed morels)
- Morel mushrooms
- Coarse ground pepper
Ingredients (grilled Morels)
- Olive Oil
First I cut the morels in half, rinsed them off well, and soaked them in salt water, which I read to do online. But there was some disagreement as to doing this, since some sites said that would make them too salty. I soaked them for only about 1/2 hour to an hour and they were just salty enough. But if you prefer, just skip the saltwater step and sprinkle a little salt directly on the mushrooms. My favorite method turned out to be grilling- coat the morels in a little olive oil and grill them using a vegetable griller, which is a metal pan with little holes in it– it lets smoke through without letting vegetables fall through the grate. The morels were outstanding grilled!
The other method I tried was simply sauteing up in a pan with some butter and fresh ground pepper. This was very good as well. Morel note: make sure you cook the morels well, because they should not be eaten raw.