Oh my god! I am almost at a complete loss for words (notice I said almost) and it’s all because of these earthy, hearty beauties! I know you were wondering when I was going to get around to cooking with my coveted morel prize and I can tell you, it’s been worth the wait!
The mushrooms were sent to my office (I didn’t want to chance having the mushrooms wilt in the sun while I was at work) and let me just tell you, there are a LOT of them! You’d think two pounds wouldn’t be a massive amount of mushrooms. But they filled up a large, rectangular box! My co-worker even had to help me find containers to fit all of the mushrooms into my bag for transport home. I had no clue what I was going to do with all of these things.
I turned to one of my favorite food bloggers Claudia who told me to keep it simple: saute the mushrooms in good quality butter with shallots, salt and pepper. She assured me the morels’ flavor would provide a rich and intricate element to the butter, creating an amazing pasta sauce. Boy was she right! As I write this, I am polishing off the subject of my evening photo shoot (the Diva always looks at me like I’m insane for not eating the food right away…that and I think she’s plotting a way to get to it herself).
And since I had such superstar mushrooms, I couldn’t lower the dish with dried pasta. So I pulled out the old pasta roller and tackled Jamie Oliver’s Fresh Egg Tagliatelle recipe to serve as the base of the morel sauce…on a weekday (and no, I’m not crazy). Surprisingly, my pasta didn’t have the chewy, stiff texture my ill fated homemade pastas have suffered in the past (I won’t even recount the horror story surrounding my attempts to make spinach linguine…or why the fire department was called). To have the fresh tagliatelle mingle with the rich, buttery and oh so orgasmic morel sauce was almost too much for my taste buds to take in at once…notice I said almost.
8 ounces morel mushrooms, cleaned and coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons good quality butter
1 large shallot, diced
Salt and pepper to taste
Grated parmesan cheese to top
Melt the butter in a saute pan, adding the morels first. Let them cook for a few minutes on their own, then add the shallots. At this point, the amazing smell of the morels really hit your nose. Try not to reach your fingers into the HOT pan to try one (this is my public service announcement for the day). Instead, liberally salt and pepper (I am going to be a food snob and insist you use fresh ground pepper for this dish) the mushrooms and shallots. Continue to cook until the shallots are translucent. Plate the fresh tagliatelle and top it with the morel mushroom sauce. Top with a bit of grated cheese and serve!
I ate this along with a great parmesan, carmelized onion and garlic bread using the same recipe as my parmesan gouda bread. The one big difference? I actually put the garlic in the bread dough itself, making it a fantastic garlicky delight.
I cannot wait to try other recipes showcasing the complex flavors of these mushrooms! Oh morels, where have you been all my life?