In-Season Morel Mushrooms Steal the Spotlight in These 7 Recipes

Filled with smoky, nutty flavors, morel mushrooms are the perfect addition to brunch, lunch, and dinner dishes. Martha Stewart notes that the wild variety is typically available April through June, while cultivated and dried morels are available year-round. When selecting your morels, make sure they have a firm, spongy texture, and do note that the darker the mushroom is, the stronger its flavors will be. Because they have so many nooks and crannies, invest time in thoroughly washing your morels and store those that are fresh in the refrigerator. For best results, Martha Stewart advises placing them on a tray in a single layer, covering with a damp paper towel for up to three days. With the help of these 7 recipes, you can use morels to create rich ravioli, stunning sandwiches, and palate-pleasing pizza. Which will you make first?

Source: iStock

1. Morel Mushroom Ravioli

Both elegant and delicious, Taste of Home’s Morel Mushroom Ravioli is a dinner must. Store-bought wonton wrappers cut down on your time spent in the kitchen, but the dish will taste as though you’ve been slaving over a stove all day. The recipe yields 4 servings. SFGate notes that morel mushrooms are chock-full of key vitamins and minerals. One cup of raw morels contains 22% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin D, 8% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin B-6 and niacin, 11% of riboflavin, and plenty of iron — men will receive 100% of their recommended daily iron intake from 1 cup of morel mushrooms, while women will get 44%.

Ingredients:

  • ⅔ ounce dried morel mushrooms
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ½ cup finely chopped onion
  • 2 cups coarsely chopped baby portobello mushrooms
  • 12 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese
  • ⅓ cup shredded Asiago cheese
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 48 wonton wrappers
  • 2 cups pasta sauce of your choosing
  • 2 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh Italian parsley

Directions: Place mushrooms in a small bowl; add warm water to cover. Soak 30 minutes or until softened. Remove mushrooms with a slotted spoon; rinse and finely chop. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion; cook and stir 3 to 4 minutes or until tender. Add fresh mushrooms, chopped morels, and garlic; cook 3 to 4 minutes longer or until mushrooms are tender and liquid is evaporated. Stir in cream cheese, Asiago cheese, salt, and pepper. Remove from heat; cool.

Place 1 tablespoon filling in center of each of half of the wonton wrappers. Moisten wrapper edges with water; top with another wrapper. Press around filling to remove air pockets and seal edges.  In a Dutch oven, bring water to a boil. Add ravioli in batches. Reduce heat; simmer gently 1 to 2 minutes or until ravioli float and wrappers are translucent. Remove with a slotted spoon. Serve with sauce; sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and parsley.

Source: iStock

2. Morel and Asparagus Crispy Pizza

Everything about Midwest Living’s pizza — from its homemade crust to its mushroom, cheese, and asparagus toppings — is perfection. Your dough will need time to rise, so it’s important to prepare it first. While your dough sits, cook and stir your mushrooms, adding in shallots, wine, thyme, and asparagus once your morels are softened. When your dough has doubled in size, roll it out, top with your mushroom mixture and cheese, and bake. The recipe yields 2 pizzas.

Ingredients:

  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1¼ cups warm water (105 degrees to 115 degrees)
  • 2 to 2¼ cups all-purpose flour
  •  cups semolina flour
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 10 ounces morel mushrooms, cleaned and sliced ½-inch thick
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • ½ cup sliced shallots (about 4)
  • ¼ cup dry white wine
  • 2 teaspoons snipped fresh thyme
  • 8 ounces thin asparagus, cleaned, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 8 ounces Gruyere cheese, shredded (2 cups)
  • Cornmeal
  • Olive oil
  • Cracked black pepper

Directions: In a large bowl combine yeast and water. Let stand until yeast is dissolved; about 5 minutes. Add 2 cups all-purpose flour, semolina flour, 3 tablespoons olive oil, salt and sugar. Mix by hand or on low speed of an electric mixer until well-combined. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead in enough of the remaining all-purpose flour for 6 to 8 minutes or until a smooth elastic dough is formed.

Transfer dough to a bowl lightly coated with additional olive oil, turning to coat all sides. Cover and let rise in a warm place until about doubled in size, 1 to 1½ hours. Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium-high cook and stir mushrooms in hot butter for 2 to 3 minutes until mushrooms just begin to soften. Add shallots, wine and thyme. Cook and stir for 4 to 6 minutes or until shallots are tender. Add asparagus; cook and stir for 2 minutes. Remove from heat.

Preheat oven to 475 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease and dust 2 extra-large baking sheets with cornmeal. Punch dough down and divide dough in half. On a lightly floured surface roll out one portion of the dough to ⅛-inch thickness. Transfer to one prepared baking sheet.

Brush lightly with additional olive oil. Top with half the mushroom mixture and half the cheese; season to taste with pepper. Bake in oven on lowest rack about 12 minutes until crispy and brown. While first pizza is baking, repeat with remaining dough and toppings.

Morel mushrooms

Source: iStock

3. Simple Fried Morel Mushrooms

Sometimes, the simplest dishes are also the tastiest, such is the case for AllRecipes.com’s Fried Morel Mushrooms. Halve and clean your morels, roll them in flour, and fry in vegetable shortening until golden brown and crisp. Perfect as a snack or side, the recipe yields 4 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound fresh morel mushrooms, halved lengthwise
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup vegetable shortening
  • Salt, to taste

Directions: Place halved morel mushrooms in a large bowl; cover with cold, lightly salted water. Refrigerate mushrooms for about 5 minutes to loosen any dirt; pour off salted water, rinse, and repeat twice more. Thoroughly rinse mushrooms a final time and allow to drain on paper towels. Place flour in a shallow bowl.

Heat vegetable shortening in a large skillet until very hot. Roll mushrooms in flour and tap off excess; gently lay mushrooms in the hot shortening. Pan-fry until golden brown and flour coating is crisp, 5 to 8 minutes, turning often. Drain morels on paper towels, salt to taste, and enjoy.

Source: iStock

4. Trout with Morels and Wild Asparagus

Morels and asparagus are once again paired together in Saveur’s recipe and are the perfect complement to trout. Morels and shallots are simmered in chicken stock, wine, and cream, creating a rich sauce for your fillets. Asparagus is then cooked, followed by the trout fillets, which are fried until golden. Serve your fish with asparagus and sauce, and you’ll have a meal that is stunning and scrumptious.

Ingredients:

  • 15 to 20 small fresh morels, cleaned
    and trimmed
  • 8 tablespoons butter
  • 5 shallots, peeled and minced
  • ½ cup Chicken Stock
  • ¾ cup dry white wine
  • 1⅓ cups heavy cream
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ pound wild or pencil asparagus
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 6 tablespoons flour
  • 6 tablespoons yellow cornmeal
  • 8 (6-ounce) brook trout filets

Directions: Coarsely chop 6 morels. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a saucepan over medium heat, add chopped morels and shallots, and cook for 3 minutes. Add stock and wine and increase heat to high. Reduce until almost dry, 10 minutes. Stir in cream; cook until thick, 8 to 10 minutes, then strain sauce and return to pan. Season with salt and pepper and keep warm.

Cut asparagus in 3-inch lengths. Heat 2 tablespoons butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add asparagus, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes, then remove and set aside. Add 1 tablespoon butter, 1 tablespoon water, and remaining morels to skillet. Cook until morels soften, about 5 minutes, then add to sauce.

Heat 2 tablespoons oil and 2 tablespoons butter in same skillet over medium-high heat. Combine flour, cornmeal, and a pinch of salt in a large bowl. Dredge 4 trout filets in flour mixture, then fry until golden, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a platter. Wipe out skillet, add remaining butter and oil, and repeat process with remaining trout. Spoon asparagus and sauce over trout and serve.

Source: iStock

5. Morel and Asparagus Sandwiches with Poached Egg

Martha Stewart delivers a brunch dish that won’t disappoint. Asparagus and morels (are you noticing a trend with this powerful pairing?), a ricotta mixture, and eggs are placed on top of thick rustic bread that’s been lightly toasted. The recipe yields four servings.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup best-quality whole-milk ricotta cheese
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 10 ounces asparagus, trimmed
  • 4 ounces small morel mushrooms (halved or quartered if large)
  • ½ cup homemade or low-sodium store-bought chicken stock
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 4 teaspoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 4 teaspoons finely chopped fresh chervil
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 4 very fresh large eggs
  • 4 slices (½-inch thick) rustic bread, lightly toasted

Directions: Stir together ricotta, ¼ teaspoon salt, and pinch of pepper in a bowl; set aside. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add butter and oil; heat until butter has melted. Add asparagus, and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Stir in mushrooms. Add stock, and bring to a simmer. Cover, and cook 2 minutes. Uncover, and cook until asparagus is tender and bright green, about 2 minutes more. Add cream; cook until reduced and slightly thickened, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in herbs and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper; remove from heat.

Bring a large shallow saucepan of water to a simmer. Working with 1 egg at time, break into a cup, and slide egg into water. Cook the eggs until whites are set, 2 to 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer eggs to a plate lined with paper towels to drain. Spread ricotta mixture over bread slices, dividing evenly. Divide asparagus among slices, and drizzle with sauce. Top each with a poached egg. Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

Source: iStock

6. Morel Mushroom and Leek Quesadillas

Calling for very few ingredients, The Kitchn’s Morel Mushroom and Leek Quesadillas are bursting with big flavors. In addition, good-for-you morels, leeks, and whole-wheat tortillas make this a nutritious dinner option. The recipe yields 2 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (divided)
  • 2 medium-sized leeks, diced
  • 3 cups morel mushrooms, diced
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 (10-inch) whole wheat flour tortillas
  • 2 to 3 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
  • ¼ cup parsley, roughly chopped, plus more for garnish
  • Juice from 1 lime

Directions: Heat a large skillet over medium-hight heat. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and swirl to coat the pan. Add the leeks and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring often. Add the diced mushrooms, crushed red pepper flakes, and soy sauce. Continue to cook and stir until mushrooms and leeks are tender and fragrant. About 8 minutes.

Transfer the vegetables to a bowl. Carefully wipe the skillet down and drizzle remaining 1 tablespoon of oil. Turn the heat to medium-high and place one tortilla on the skillet. Top with sautéed veggies, goat cheese, parsley, and place remaining tortilla on top. Cook until the underside is golden, 3 to 5 minutes, and then carefully flip the quesadilla. Cook for another 3 to 5 minutes.

Slice the quesadilla into 4 pieces and serve with a squeeze of fresh lime juice and additional parsley.

Source: iStock

7. Ricotta Gnocchi With Asparagus, Peas, and Morels

Freshly made gnocchi taste terrific when paired with asparagus, peas, and morels. Bon Appétit’s recipe via Epicurious first explains how to make homemade gnocchi, which can be made one day ahead, and then shows you how to cook your asparagus, morels, and peas to perfection. Serve this dish topped with chives, Parmesan, and lemon zest.

Ingredients:

Gnocchi

  • 4 cups ricotta
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup finely grated Parmesan
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

Vegetables and Assembly

  • 1 bunch asparagus, trimmed
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more
  • ¼ pound fresh morel mushrooms
  • 1 small shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 cup shelled fresh peas (from about 1 pound pods) or frozen peas, thawed
  • ¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Chopped fresh chives, finely grated Parmesan, and finely grated lemon zest (for serving)

Directions: To make the gnocchi, line a baking dish with 3 layers of paper towels; spoon ricotta onto paper towels and let sit 20 minutes. Combine ricotta, eggs, Parmesan, and salt in a food processor; season with pepper and process until smooth. Add flour and pulse just to combine. Transfer gnocchi mixture to a pastry bag fitted with ½-inch round tip or a large resealable plastic bag.

For vegetables and assembly, cook asparagus in a large pot of boiling salted water until bright green and crisp-tender, about 1 minute. Using tongs or a mesh strainer, transfer to a bowl of ice water to cool; drain. Slice asparagus on the diagonal into bite-size pieces, leaving tips intact.

Reduce heat so water is simmering. If using a resealable plastic bag for gnocchi mixture, cut a ½-inch opening in bottom of bag. Working in 3 batches, pipe dough into pot, cutting off 1-inch lengths with a paring knife and letting dough drop into water. Cook until doubled in size, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer gnocchi to a lightly oiled baking sheet. Reserve ¼ cup cooking liquid.

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook morels, tossing occasionally, until slightly softened, about 5 minutes. Add shallot and cook, tossing occasionally, until shallot and morels are soft, about 5 minutes; set aside.

Add gnocchi, asparagus, peas, butter, and reserved cooking liquid to skillet with morels. Cook, tossing gently, until vegetables are warm and sauce has thickened slightly, about 2 minutes; season with salt and pepper. Serve topped with chives, Parmesan, and lemon zest.

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