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Morel Mushrooms


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24 replies to this topic

#1 Paul Bacino

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Posted 09 May 2011 - 03:59 PM

I have been a long time shroomer.. but the last few batches of fried morel mushrooms have produce the best crust I have ever had..

Posted Image

These I didn't wash!!

I allowed these to desiccate slightly then covered with a moist towel.. till prep time ( Seasoned Flour, egg, seasoned flour.. cooked in un salted Plugra butter with a clove of un-peeled garlic..pan fried )!! I halved the mushrooms and removed anything that crawled out visibly... I know the convolutions harbor other stuff.. but this was by far the best crust i have ever gotten!!

BTW these were found in a non sandy loam!!

So.. question.. bug and worms will be bag if eaten an gone undetected? What are you doing for fried morels?

Edited by Paul Bacino, 09 May 2011 - 04:00 PM.

Its good to have Morels

#2 kryptos1

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Posted 09 May 2011 - 04:05 PM

Not scary at all! Looks like you cooked them to make everything safe. City Market has morel at a decent price....should I be asking how they were cleaned and change how they are prepared in order to get that crust/crispy? Never had morel's the way you made them but sounds great!

#3 Badiane

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Posted 09 May 2011 - 04:11 PM

I would just brush them really well and use a hairpin to clean out the middle. That's what we did in cooking school!
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#4 SobaAddict70

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Posted 09 May 2011 - 04:47 PM

I usually don't.

Haven't eaten a bug yet.

#5 Paul Bacino

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Posted 09 May 2011 - 06:40 PM

kryptos1,

These were taken home, I cut them in half, yes a couple had a few larger bugs within the cap.. its like a pill bug. I then turned them over on the convoluted side and tapped them on the pan.. I allowed them to air dry about 1/2 hr. Then covered with a damp towel, this allowed the mushroom to concentrate its flavor a bit.. kinda like dry aging beef!!

Now I just breaded with ap flour ( seasoned with Malbar pepper, cayenne pepper and Lawry's salt )dusting.. then into an egg wash with a little water to dilute.. then back in the bag of seasoned flour.. shake the excess.. now it is important to rest the mushroom about 30 min prior to frying!!

Here they are ready for the pan!!

Posted Image
Its good to have Morels

#6 lstrelau

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Posted 09 May 2011 - 08:35 PM

Still waiting for our local market to get their spring shipments of morels in. They come from evergreen forest floors so not a lot of dirt on them anyway but I never wash them, usually just trim off any stems that still have a bit of soil on them. There are probably baby worms in some of them but I just close my eyes and cook the morels and eat them. Only see the worms when we are close to the end of a box of mushrooms and the worms have had a chance to get big enough to see!!These I brush off (if you let the mushrooms sit in a tray lined with paper towels the few worms that have taken up residence usually decamp anyway. I figure I have eaten worse things than morel-fattened grubs!! Have never noticed any additional flavour from the fauna.

Usually have several feeds of fresh morels then saute the rest with shallots, garlic and butter and freeze in 1 cup portions for later use.

Best recipe of all (a riff on Carluccio's in London) though is stuffing morels with pate de foie gras (cut the pate or mousse in small sticks to fit into the hole in the bottom - cut of some of the stem if necessary). then take some fresh breadcrumbs mixed with a bit of beaten egg to make 'plugs' to stop up the opening in the morel. Saute them quickly in some melted butter til tender (don't over do it - don't want the foie to completely melt out but it should be warmish inside). Finally deglaze the pan with some sherry, madeira or port, let the alcohol burn off and finish with a slug or two of heavy cream, garnish with some chopped parsley. Serve by themselves or on toast (helps to have something to soak up the juices). Heavenly flavours and now the epitome of spring for me!
Llyn Strelau
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Canada
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#7 hapacooking

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Posted 09 May 2011 - 10:16 PM

One thing I always do with fresh morels is place them in a zip lock bag for a few hours with most of the air removed from the bag. This will allow the worms to exit the mushroom as they get starved for oxygen. The small worms can easily be cleaned/removed from the morels and then they are ready to cook without any soaking.

#8 Will

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Posted 09 May 2011 - 10:24 PM

I used to just use a brush (which is what I do with most other wild mushrooms), but after talking to several mushroom people, I have started to rinse morels, and I don't think the results suffer too much. I do several changes of cold water immediately before cooking, drain and a quick pat dry, then directly into a smoking hot pan (method suggested by the guy I buy mushrooms from).

#9 Snadra

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Posted 09 May 2011 - 11:09 PM

When I was a teenager we had a huge morel season the year after some major fires came through our valley. Our farm was used as a buying station and it was often my job to turn over the morels as they dried on sheets of plastic. Being a teenager I did this with the blackest of scowls on my face of course - what was funny that my scowl matched the charcoal-blackened faces of the pickers. Only a few were sold-on as fresh and most were dried before being shipped off. For years afterwards I had nightmares about the creepy-crawlies and assorted other wrigglies that would come scrambling out as I turned the morels.

Which is all to say I could never eat one unless I washed it very well first.

I've never seen fresh morels here, although I occasionally see very high-priced dried ones at David Jones. When the mushroom buyers were staying with us I recall having them in various sauces, or crumbed and fried if they were small or stuffed with an herb, parmesan and fresh bread crumb stuffing and baked in the oven if they were monstrous.

#10 Peter the eater

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Posted 10 May 2011 - 05:25 AM

I wash all mushrooms, cultivated or wild.
Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .
Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .
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#11 sparrowgrass

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Posted 10 May 2011 - 05:32 AM

I always cut my morels in half, since the time I found a small, but very crunchy, snail in the middle of one. :blink:

I usually wash them in hot water--the little springtail bugs that inhabit morels do not appeal to me. Then I dry them well--a salad spinner works.

Lay them out on the counter for a day or so to 'concentrate the flavor' if you like. Most types of morels are very amenable to drying, but the really early ones tend to rot instead of dry. (My sister calls that type 'peckerheads' but I am much too refined to resort to such language. :laugh: )
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#12 tim

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Posted 10 May 2011 - 06:33 AM

Hi,

We cut them in half and soak in cold water to remove dirt/bugs. The water goes into the woods out back; yes those spores.

We saute in butter with cream added to finish.

Tim

#13 rlibkind

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Posted 10 May 2011 - 02:39 PM

Like Sparrowgrass, I always split morels lengthwise, and brush them well, examining the folds as well as the interior. I found a particularly hard-shelled insect in my last batch, with devilish looking horns. I don't wash, just trim the base if necessary.

Although I think the fried morels are undoubtedly high on the deliciousness scale, I think they're too dear (just under $70/pound in my neighborhood, since I don't collect them myself) to put to breading. A quick sauté served with similiarly treated spring veggies (asparagus, fiddleheads, ramps, whatever), served around a savory lightly cheesey custard and adorned with beurre blanc. Can't beat it.
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#14 KitchenMom

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Posted 10 May 2011 - 03:11 PM

Bob, I don't know where you're buying them, but I got them at the Elkins Park Farmer's Market this past Sunday for $40/pound. The were very sandy, I split and soaked and had a whole bunch of dirt and stuff in the soaking water. Sauteed w/ramps (from the same purveyor)and put in an omlette. Perfect spring dinner.

#15 Paul Bacino

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Posted 10 May 2011 - 03:17 PM

Bob, I don't know where you're buying them, but I got them at the Elkins Park Farmer's Market this past Sunday for $40/pound. The were very sandy, I split and soaked and had a whole bunch of dirt and stuff in the soaking water. Sauteed w/ramps (from the same purveyor)and put in an omlette. Perfect spring dinner.


Those I would have soaked!!
Its good to have Morels

#16 rlibkind

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Posted 10 May 2011 - 03:18 PM

Bob, I don't know where you're buying them, but I got them at the Elkins Park Farmer's Market this past Sunday for $40/pound. The were very sandy, I split and soaked and had a whole bunch of dirt and stuff in the soaking water.

All that sand may account for the price dif. The $69.99 price at Iovine's in the RTM bought me nice large, fresh (not at all dried out) samples, all very clean except for the one ugly bug I found. That's about the same price Earl Livengood charges at farmers' markets for the morels collected by his pal Sam Consylman. Nonetheless, maybe I'll take a trip north to your market this Sunday! A little work to clean them is not a bad thing at that price saving!
Bob Libkind aka "rlibkind"

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#17 Dianabanana

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Posted 10 May 2011 - 06:10 PM

I discovered a simple solution for the wormy morel conundrum by accident. I use a lingerie bag for mushroom hunting (the kind with fairly large holes, not the tight nylon mesh kind). It fits nicely in your pocket when empty, ostensibly distributes spores as you walk, and is very gentle on the delicate morels. Many years ago I got home late and tired, and for some reason hung my bag on a mug hook before crashing into bed. In the morning I awoke to find hundreds of the disgusting little maggoty worms on the counter below the bag. I don't know why this works, but it does. Obviously you don't specifically need a lingerie bag; I imagine a colander would do nicely.

#18 kryptos1

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Posted 11 May 2011 - 07:04 AM

Interesting post!

  • Resting mushrooms intensifies flavor
  • Most everyone cuts in half and do some type of cleaning
  • $40-$70 a pound. Kansas City Market had about 10 medium sized in a bag for $15, 10 or so large ones for $40
  • if soaked, dump the water to distribute spores (curious what growing environment is the best)
  • If cooked at 350F oil, would think the time to kill any contaminate in the mushroom or egg would be low (my ASSumption)


#19 emilyr

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Posted 11 May 2011 - 11:21 AM

My aunt Lynn is the family mushroom cooker, and she always soaks, but I asked her about it a few years ago, and I think it's more for flavor than cleanliness. We kids always had to make sure there were no bugs inside and brush off any dirt before they went into the bucket with salt and water. They soaked for about 2 hours, then were laid out on cookie sheets lined with tea towels to dry. Then Lynn rolled them in AP flour seasoned with a little garlic salt, rolled in egg wash, and finally in crushed up crackers (saltines, usually). Finally fried in butter in her cast iron skillet or deep fried in the catfish fryer out back, depending on how many we had.
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#20 kryptos1

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Posted 15 May 2011 - 06:09 AM

For some reason I cannot post the pictures from ImageGullet or Flikr.

Photos: Morel Experiment

  • Purchased 10 small to medium Morels for $15 at the Kansas City River Market
  • Cut all 10 in half, only 1 had some ants.
  • Took 10 halfs and soaked in water for 1 hour (water was put in a shaded damp area of my yard....says online takes 2 years minimum to see if any grew)
  • Took other 10 halfs and placed in a dish for 1 hour
  • Put in egg bath with a little water to dilute as it says above, then flour: white and almond flour, cayenne, seschuan peppercorn, black pepper, kosher salt.
  • Let sit for 1 more hour (says 30 minutes above....I had to go shopping)

Cooked one of each as follows:

300 degrees

Cleaned
105 seconds cooking =
Taste: mild crunch, chewy mushroom good mushroom taste
Temp: Medium high on tongue
60 seconds more = mild mushroom, 6 of 10 crunch

Not Cleaned
105 seconds cooking =
Same taste, slight more crunch
60 seconds more: same mushroom taste, no additional crunch, lingering flavor and tasting cayenne then mushroom turns bitter in time.

325 Degrees
Cleaned
105 seconds cooking
Taste: slight more crunch as 300, mushroom flavor the same
60 seconds more:
More crunch, very slight less mushroom taste

Not cleaned
105 seconds cooking
Taste: Not soggy, good flavor
60 Seconds more:
Taste: Crunchier, crust taste, then followed with more mushroom (not strong though)

350 Degrees
Cleaned
105 seconds cooking
Taste: Desired crunch, desired mushroom flavor
60 seconds more: n/a

Not cleaned
105 seconds cooking
Taste: Same crunch, more distorted mushroom taste
60 Seconds more: n/a


2 Minutes @ 350 degrees


Cleaned
Visually: Best yet, no flour look, all mushroom
Taste: Same, slight more crunch


Favorite:
Uncleaned 2 Min
Optimal, lots of mushroom and light crunch

Cleaned:
These are the good crunch and flavor, all mushroom

#21 frdagaa

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Posted 15 May 2011 - 06:50 AM

For some reason I cannot post the pictures from ImageGullet or Flikr.

Photos: Morel Experiment

  • Purchased 10 small to medium Morels for $15 at the Kansas City River Market
  • Cut all 10 in half, only 1 had some ants.
  • Took 10 halfs and soaked in water for 1 hour (water was put in a shaded damp area of my yard....says online takes 2 years minimum to see if any grew)
  • Took other 10 halfs and placed in a dish for 1 hour
  • Put in egg bath with a little water to dilute as it says above, then flour: white and almond flour, cayenne, seschuan peppercorn, black pepper, kosher salt.
  • Let sit for 1 more hour (says 30 minutes above....I had to go shopping)

Cooked one of each as follows:

300 degrees

Cleaned
105 seconds cooking =
Taste: mild crunch, chewy mushroom good mushroom taste
Temp: Medium high on tongue
60 seconds more = mild mushroom, 6 of 10 crunch

Not Cleaned
105 seconds cooking =
Same taste, slight more crunch
60 seconds more: same mushroom taste, no additional crunch, lingering flavor and tasting cayenne then mushroom turns bitter in time.

325 Degrees
Cleaned
105 seconds cooking
Taste: slight more crunch as 300, mushroom flavor the same
60 seconds more:
More crunch, very slight less mushroom taste

Not cleaned
105 seconds cooking
Taste: Not soggy, good flavor
60 Seconds more:
Taste: Crunchier, crust taste, then followed with more mushroom (not strong though)

350 Degrees
Cleaned
105 seconds cooking
Taste: Desired crunch, desired mushroom flavor
60 seconds more: n/a

Not cleaned
105 seconds cooking
Taste: Same crunch, more distorted mushroom taste
60 Seconds more: n/a


2 Minutes @ 350 degrees


Cleaned
Visually: Best yet, no flour look, all mushroom
Taste: Same, slight more crunch


Favorite:
Uncleaned 2 Min
Optimal, lots of mushroom and light crunch

Cleaned:
These are the good crunch and flavor, all mushroom


Thanks for experimenting for us!

I wonder though about the validity of conclusions when each condition contains just 1/2 a shroom. Better to try fewer conditions and have a little larger sample of each.
Chip Wilmot

Lack of wit can be a virtue

#22 kryptos1

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Posted 15 May 2011 - 08:39 AM

@frdagaa

Yea definitely agree.....wish the budget would have allowed. Next time though I am pretty confident 350 degrees and 2 minutes will work. My first rodeo with Morels so wanted to try a little variety

#23 Paul Bacino

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Posted 18 May 2011 - 02:44 PM

Very Nicely Done!! kryptos1

Never thought about baking.. thanks for bringing that up!!



I actually picked up some from a friend that was washed and stored in Tupperware, I placed them on 2 paper towels ( should have used more ) baked in oven @ 200 to dry slightly.

I did mine three way:

Flour -egg wash--Saltine cracker!! This was a tad better ( provided what I would call the correct amount of salt )

Flour -- egg wash -- seasoned flour ( original way )

Flour -- egg wash-- 50/50 seasoned flour/dried Brioche crumbs.. these worked the best in terms of a nice crust and al dente mushroom texture.. what I did also was turn the temp of the fry down a bit .. I think it help release more moisture and created a better end product!!

Cheers Doc B
Its good to have Morels

#24 David Ross

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Posted 28 May 2011 - 07:11 PM

I'm the oddball out here-I don't wash Morels. Due to a long, wet Winter and Spring, we just saw our first fresh Morels in Eastern, WA, last week. I buy mine at a local market that procures the morels in the forests just a few miles out of Spokane. They are currently selling at $35/lb.

Tonight I paired the morels with some fresh Copper River Salmon. First, a morel custard that includes chopped fresh morels sauteed with garlic in olive oil and butter, (and a whole morel placed in the center). Second, a saute of fresh morels and fava beans.
004 (3).JPG

Now I must admit that a teensy little ant crawled onto the cutting board while I was chopping morels for the custard, but I quickly showed him on his way. Whether there were other any family members amongst the morels I don't know, but they sure did taste good. (Next time I may have to pick through them first before the ants crawl out).

#25 Paul Bacino

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Posted 30 May 2011 - 06:40 AM

Very Nice Dave

Morel custard recipe? Where did you get that round container or is it a scoop of custard.. you said you put in one whole mushroom though

Cheers

Edited by Paul Bacino, 30 May 2011 - 06:43 AM.

Its good to have Morels