Delicious and nutritious, morel mushrooms have it all. They’re a springtime delicacy that is not always the easiest to find, both out in the wild or stores. But, once you do, cooking them is a breeze.
Read on to find out how to best prepare your morels.
Equipment and Ingredients You’ll Need
Here is a short list of things you’ll need to cook morel mushrooms:
- Morels (and, of course, the more you have, the better)
- Cooking oil (though any cooking oil will work, extra virgin olive oil is one of the best options)
- Onions and garlic
- A sharp kitchen knife
- A frying pan
Choosing Your Morels
Choosing good mushrooms is critical. As such, making sure you select the right morels is, arguably, the most important part of cooking them.
Ideally, pick morels that are on the smaller side. They should be firm on the outside too.
Though not vital, the fewer bugs and debris the mushrooms have on them, the better. That said, we will take care of anything that’s there in step two.
Make sure the morels you pick are as dry as possible. Moisture can make them taste spongy and – in my opinion – less enjoyable.
And if you’re foraging for your mushrooms in the wild, know what you’re looking for. There are several poisonous mushrooms called false morels that look an awful lot like the real thing.
The best way to tell a true morel and an imposter apart is to cut them open. Real morels are hollow inside and their poisonous counterparts are not.
The Cleaning Process
Once you have secured your morel mushrooms, step two is cleaning them.
First, inspect your morels carefully – you’re looking for dirt, wormholes, and bugs. Remove any bugs you find and cut out any wormholes. All non-bug related debris can be removed with a small kitchen brush.
If you foraged for your mushrooms, expect the cleaning step to take a little longer compared to cleaning a store-bought product.
The big advantage of picking your own, though, is that they’ll be fresher. Since buying morels can get pricey, you’ll also save money.
With all debris and bugs removed, briefly run your mushrooms under cold water. This will take care of any remaining dirt.
Don’t rinse for too long, though. Morels are absorbent, and the more water they take on, the spongier their texture will be.
Cutting the Morels
After choosing your perfect mushrooms and cleaning them, it’s cutting time.
First, chop off the stems. They’re hard, not very nutritious, and you won’t want to eat them. Using a sharp knife, remove them as close as possible to the morel’s body.
With the stems removed, slice your mushrooms in quarters or halves. Either works well and comes down to personal preference.
While you cut the morels, it’s also an excellent time to double-check if the insides are hollow. This is especially important if you picked them in the wild yourself. Recall that a true morel will be hollow, and a poisonous fake one will not.
Add cooking oil to your frying pan and heat it on high for a few seconds before adding the morels.
When the morels are in, stir the pan around to give the oil a chance to coat them. Then, lower the heat to medium-low and let the morels cook for several minutes until they turn a nice shade of brown.
Don’t forget to stir the mushrooms occasionally to make sure they don’t burn.
Next, throw in your chopped-up onions or garlic (or both) for a bit more flavor. Let everything simmer and continue to stir until the onions and garlic have also turned brown.
As the last step, add a tablespoon or two of butter – the amount will depend on how many mushrooms you’re cooking. Once the butter has melted, stir everything around to allow it to coat the morels thoroughly.
And then, you’re done.
You can now add the delicacy you have created to your favorite dish. Or, if you prefer, morel mushrooms are also absolutely delicious all on their own.
There’s not much more to say other than enjoy your morels. They indeed are both nutritious and delicious.