- Black Morel Morchella elata
- Morel Morchella esculenta
- Morel Morchella vulgaris
Morchella Esculenta is less common, lighter in colour and has a better flavour than Morchella Vulgaris. Morchella elata has a taller cap and is much darker.
- Beware: not to confuse this for the False Morel Gyromitra Esculenta. which all books describe as poisonous, and some as deadly.
- A relative of the highly-prized truffle; tan to dark-brown, cone-shaped, spongy; smoky, earthy, nutty flavour.
- Its cap ranges in size from 5 to 15cm high.
- Wild morels usually appear in April and the season can last through June.
- Associated with the roots of broad leaved trees, humus rich sand or clay, often turn up some time after a fire or when the ground has been disturbed.
- Beware: Morels MUST be cooked, which destroys the poisons in the edible species.
- The marvellous flavour of the morel does not need much embellishment and this mushroom is best when cooked simply or even just sautéed in butter.
- The strong flavour is also used with cream in many sauces.
- The caps darken as they grow. Generally, the darker the mushroom, the stronger its flavour.
- Choose fresh specimens that have a firm yet spongy texture.
- Fresh specimens should be cleaned well due to its dimpled head and hollow interior.
- Also available canned and dried.
If you're lucky enough to find lots of Morels, any that you can't use straight away they can be easily preserved by drying. Cut in half, discard the end of the stem and wash them. Dry with towel and thread onto a piece of string. After a couple of days in a warm kitchen, or over a radiator they should become almost crisp. Store in an air-tight container. Use them as fresh mushrooms after soaking them in warm water for 30 minutes.
Penne with Peppery Broccoli and Morel Sauce
15g dried morels or similar mushrooms such as cèpes or porcini 110g olive oil 1 onion, minced 1 large garlic clove, minced 1/2 / 1 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes, or to taste 1/4 cup minced fresh basil or parsley leaves 500g penne or similar tubular dried pasta 1 head of broccoli, separated into flowerets and stems peeled and cut into l-inch pieces (about 1 pound in all)
In a bowl soak the mushrooms in 1 cup boiling water for 20 minutes, drain them, reserving the liquid, and slice them, discarding the tough stems. Strain the liquid through a fine sieve into a bowl and reserve 1/3 cup. In a saucepan heat the oil over moderate heat until it is hot, add the onion and the mushrooms, and cook the mixture, stirring, until the onion is pale golden. Add garlic and the red pepper flakes and cook the mixture, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add the reserved mushroom liquid and salt to taste and simmer the sauce for 1 minute. Stir in the basil. In a large saucepan of boiling salted water cook the penne for 6 minutes, add the broccoli, and cook the mixture for 5 to 6 minutes more, or until the pasta is al dente and the broccoli is just tender. Drain the mixture, transfer it to a heated bowl, and toss it with the sauce. Serve immediately.
- Preparation -
- Cooking -
- Feeds - 4 to 6
- Region -
- Source - Best of Gourmet (Conde Nast Books)
Morels on Fried Bread
250g Morels 50g Butter 1 Egg Yolk 60ml Double Cream Stock 4 small bread slices Parsley, Thyme Salt, Pepper
Clean and break up the morels. Stew the Morels in the stock with 10g of the butter, salt, pepper and herbs for 30 mins. Add the egg yolk and cream and cook for a further 5 minutes. In another pan, fry the bread in the remaining butter. Serve the mixture on the fried bread.
- Preparation - 10
- Cooking - 40
- Feeds - 4
- Region -
- Source - Ref 6