Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A Faux-Forager's Delight - Morels

I never liked mushrooms. That is, until one day, when I was in 4th grade, during a trip with my family to Costa Rica. We were each served a bowl of mushroom soup, and I begrudgingly agreed to try it. One creamy, earthy taste and I was sold . . . going on to lick my bowl clean and then greedily eat most of my mother's portion as well. I now have an intense love of mushrooms and am prone to order any mushroom-y menu item when out on the town. 

My mother is visiting, and I took her to my version of Disneyland - Berkeley Bowl. It is an amazing produce-centric market in Berkeley with the most incredible array of fruits and veggies from around the globe. Walking through the mushroom section we both locked our eyes on the box of morels and began to drool. Then we noticed that the price was outrageously affordable (only $15/pound – if that sounds like a lot, they are $40/pound at my neighborhood grocery), and we dove in.
As for preparation, with such a luxuriously lovely ingredient I wanted to keep it simple and just enjoy the morel. I sauteed one diced shallot in butter. Once translucent I added in one diced clove of garlic. After a minute of letting those flavors marry, I added my half-pound (!) of morels and sauteed over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes. To finish, I seasoned them generously with salt and pepper, reduced the heat to low and poured in about 3/4 cup of heavy cream. I let the sauce cook for 10-15 minutes over very low heat, until the cream was infused with a nice mushroom-y-ness.
We ate the mushrooms over plain pasta . . .
 . . . and savored every last morsel.
My dishwasher.

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