Saturday, May 28, 2011

When the Cats Away, the Mice Will Play. When Jeffs Away, Kate Will Eat Morels!

Last year I bought some morels, and, after eating them, Jeff asked "so what's the difference between this and a regular mushroom?"  Which means this year I'm not sharing!  I got these at the West Allis Farmer's Market.  As I was walking up towards the market I heard some 'Stallis townie say "$42 for one pound of mushrooms?  Who would pay that?"  And I thought... OMG.  They have morels.  I would TOTALLY PAY THAT!  And then I ran to the mushroom booth and happily gave them my money.  I got a 1/2 pound.

I will share some of them with Jeff.  I am not a monster... but not all of them that's for darn sure.  Tonight, he had a gig so I didn't want to make anything too fancy, and I settled on an omelette.  Omelettes are actually something that I eat quite a lot of, that haven't made it to the blog since I figure everyone knows how to make an omelette.  But maybe they don't.  An omelette is easy, quick, and good for you.  And it's a good way to use up whatever it is you have leftover in the fridge.

If you are lucky enough to get morels, you want to make sure to soak them.  If you don't know already, there is a bit of a debate on mushrooms in the food world.  On one hand, you can't wash them because that makes them soggy.  On the other hand (the hand I'm on), mushrooms grow in dirt, and I would prefer not to eat dirt.  Plus, if I didn't pick them, I can't guarantee that whoever did pick them washed their hands first.  Eww.

But regardless of your side, I think everyone is in agreement that morels need to be not only washed, but soaked.  They have a hollow center (if they don't, DON'T eat them.  They're not morels and you will get sick) and bugs like to live in there.  Lots of times I find little maggot type worms in my soaking water.  It's gross.  I try not to think about it.  Once I'm eating them, that's pretty easy to do!

To prep morels, dissolve about 1/2 cup of salt in about a gallon of hot water (reduce if you don't have that many mushrooms).  Cut the morels in half, and soak in salt water for about 30 minutes, stirring gently occasionally.  Remove, and rinse off carefully with cold water, making sure that there are no now dead critters hanging on.  I know this seems really gross, but it is totally worth it.  Morels are only grown in the wild, so that is why it's dirtier than a mushroom that you might buy in a grocery store.  Also, the little holes hold on to stuff.  If this is just too much for you, fine.  Don't eat morels.  I do not have a problem with that at all.  More for me.

On a personal pride note, this is my first 100% local recipe (except for salt and pepper).

Morel Omelette
Serves 1
Active time: 20 minutes
Total time: 25 minutes

  • 2 morel mushrooms, soaked and rinsed (L)
  • 1 shitake mushroom (L)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced (L)
  • 1 tbsp butter, divided (L)
  • Two large eggs (L)
  • 1 tbsp heavy cream (L)
  • 1 tbsp crumbled goat cheese (L)
  • 1 tbsp minced chives (L*)
  • Salt and pepper
Thinly slice mushrooms.   Heat half of butter over medium heat in a small saute pan.  Add mushrooms and garlic, and saute until mushrooms are soft and have released their liquid, about 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Season with salt and pepper.

While mushrooms are cooking, gently whisk eggs together with cream.  Once mushrooms are done, remove from pan into a small bowl and set aside.  Add remaining butter and allow to melt fully before pouring eggs into pan.

The trick I use when making omelettes is to "poke" them just a little when they start cooking.  Using a spatula, I just make quick little jabs into the bottom.  This helps move just a little bit of the cooked egg up and the raw egg down, so it cooks through more evenly.  I have found this leads to a fluffier omelette and lessens the risk of raw egg juice in the inside of the omelette.  You're not scrambling it, but just breaking it up a little.

Don't do this too long.  If you overcook your omelette, it will be dry and brown on the bottom.  When the eggs are still wet and raw on the top, add the mushrooms, cheese, and chives, and fold the omelette in half.  Turn the heat off, cover, and allow to sit for 5 minutes to finish cooking.

I don't know if that made a lot of sense.  I should try to make an omelette video. 

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