Ah, cooking morel mushrooms and eating them. Your reward for a day searching in the woods. Finding them may not always be easy, but cooking usually is!
Since morels are usually the star of the dish, it's best to keep preparation and other ingredients simple. Below you'll find instructions for cleaning, cooking, rehydrating dried morels, and a few easy recipes.
Follow this link for a full page of delicious morel recipes.
Before we begin cooking morel mushrooms they must first be cleaned. If you picked them while mushroom hunting, they'll probably contain pieces of dirt, some bugs, or even a slug or two. There are three main schools of thought behind cleaning morels:
I've heard arguments for and against each method. Use whatever technique you feel most comfortable with in terms of sanitation. The point is to remove all dirt and bugs without making them too wet. Soggy morels result in a heartbreak not cured by store-bought mushrooms.
I usually prefer to clean my wild mushrooms with a damp cloth, but morels are so pitted this may not remove all the dirt and grit.
Thus I usually use the second method, rinse them off and pat dry. Since uncooked morels have a rubbery texture, I find that a quick rinse doesn't make them too soggy.
For some this is not enough, and they prefer to soak their morels in a bowl of salted water. If you do this, make sure you don't go overboard on the salt, as you don't want it to affect the taste of the mushrooms.
You can cook morels the same as you would any mushroom (fry, sauté, grill, etc). Just please do cook them. Our digestive systems aren't equipped to handle raw mushrooms so eating raw morels may make you sick, and they just don't taste as good.
Here are some commonly followed guidelines for cooking morel mushrooms:
Cooking morel mushrooms is easy when they're already dried. You just need to rehydrate them first.
Your mileage may vary, but 3 oz of dried morels is equal to roughly a pound of fresh ones. Keep this in mind while dehydrating.
You may want to cut your dried mushrooms before you rehydrate. They will rehydrate quicker in smaller pieces. It's up to you.
You may now commence cooking morel mushrooms! Run your fingers over them. If they seem gritty, you can always give them a second, clean rinse. You can sauté or cook as you wish.
As for the soaking water, if it's not full of dirt it makes a great base for soups and sauces.
If you need more ideas than the ones below check out this page on recipes for cooking morel mushrooms.
Ok, two recipes! Below are two classic morel mushroom recipes to close out the cooking page. The first is for frying with flour in butter, and the second is for a lighter sauté. Feel free to adjust them as you see fit.
I hope you have fun cooking morel mushrooms. Whether fresh or dried, the results are delicious!