Saturday, May 21, 2011

the morel of the story

This week was full of food wonders; lettuce, mustard greens and  asparagus--all Farm grown. And KTL, a fellow Kitchen worker has brought back to life the Kitchen's herb garden, bringing us fresh batches of rosemary and thyme for sauces. Mmmm! And to top it off, Steve S., a Farm legend and general life-loving busy-body, brought the Kitchen a couple of batches of morels which had been gathered in the woods.

The mushrooms were sauteed in olive oil with a little salt and garlic and were honest to God, PERFECTION! It is probably good that they are hard to find because otherwise I would put them in every dish the Kitchen makes and then people wouldn't appreciate the morels enough! Such a good, earthy flavor, with a texture that is slightly chewy. Agh! So good!

Doing some reading on morels and stumbled upon this interview with Jean Fahey, president of the Central New York Mycological Society. (Mycology is the "branch of biology dealing with fungi," according to dictionary.com) Here are some helpful things I learned about morels:
  • Morels are hollow, so you just pinch the stem off to collect. 
  • Carry a mesh collecting bag; the spores spread while being jostled around, this means you are ensuring future generations of morels!
  • Never eat morels that grow near busy roads, mushrooms tend to absorb certain flavors
  • Morels grow around apple trees a lot (just be careful of trees which may have been treated with pesticides!)
All this said, beware! There are posionous mushrooms too, so don't pick until you've been properly trained or have an expert with you. I enjoyed the morels, but would never assume to go and gather alone!

Photo found here.

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