Monday, May 22, 2006

Morel Mushrooms: Now Is The Time

Yes, they're in season now. And, they're the kind of mushrooms that you DO hold underneath the water -- without worrying about the loss of their texture and flavor. So no meticulous dabbing with a clean kitchen towel to remove the excess dirt from these mushrooms. They go directly under a stream of tap water for a good rinse.

Chef Bertrand Chemel of Café Boulud here in NYC, recommends washing them carefully to remove any and all sand particles, then cooking them simply with herbs and cream to enhance their flavor. He suggests that you can serve them as a "stand alone" side dish with veal, beef, lamb, and poultry, or spoon them over blanched asparagus.

Also, in this month's New York Magazine there's a terrific recipe for Bertrand Chemel’s Morel Fricassee :

20 oz. fresh morels
2 teaspoons white vinegar
3 sprigs tarragon
1 sprig thyme
2 bay leaves, dry or fresh
3 sage leaves, fresh
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 shallots, peeled and trimmed
Salt and ground black pepper
1/3 cup dry vermouth
1/2 cup heavy cream
5 sprigs chervil

If you're in or around the New York City area, the morels are their freshest and readily available at: Truffette, (a.k.a. S.O.S. Chefs) 104 Ave. B, near. 7th St. A bit pricey here for morels and other hard to find ingredients by the kilo or the ounce? Possibly (, okay, yeah, it is). But is it worth it every now and then? Definitely. (Note to self: Thank goodness, price-wise I'm not exactly a fan of imported truffles!)

So if you're a mushroom lover, morels are unrivaled in the flavors they help to bring out in many dishes. Buy 'em .

Have a good Monday, gang. Peace.

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