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5.20.14 Morels on Toast

5.20.14 Morels on Toast

For the past couple of springs, I have been making an attempt to forage for morels. I mean, let’s be honest here, morel mushrooms are delicious. And expensive. So, considering the amount of morels I like to eat when they’re in season, I figured finding my own would be a more economical solution. Not to mention, it just sounds adventurous. Plus you get a nice hike in the woods. Really, it sounds just about perfect.

Except that for me, like many who have attempted a morel hunt, finding some of these guys is easier said than done. I’m sure that given the right location, foraging for morels is not too terribly hard, but that’s just it - finding a good location. Any good morel hunter knows never to give up the location of their secret morel hunting grounds, and really can we blame them? I’ve had some limited success finding morels in the Madison area, but I keep trying. Because one day, I know, I too will have a secret morel hunting ground to hide from everyone. At least that’s my plan.

So, last weekend was supposed to be my big morel foraging expedition of the spring. I had a few ideas of where to hunt, I had a plan, and I was ready to find some morels. And of course, as tends to happen, my wonderful plans went astray. I didn’t make it out foraging. BUT, in some strange sort of mushroom miracle, I still somehow managed to stumble upon a couple of large beautiful morels. In our very own yard.

What? How can this be? I was completely shocked. Granted, they were growing in a weird side part of the yard, mostly hemmed in by shrubbery, and not easily accessed. But still. In the past, I’ve spent hours scouring the woods, and now, to find them growing practically right outside my kitchen window? Well, that’s just awesome. And to celebrate this miraculous find, I cooked up some morels on toast. Sauteed in butter, with shallots, thyme, mascarpone, and a little lemon, perched atop crisp whole grain toast, and topped with a bit of green garlic - I can’t think of a better way to enjoy the elusive morel. And if you’re lucky enough to get your hands on some, I’m sure you’ll agree.

Morels on Toast

serves 1

This beauty of this recipe is that it’s fantastic any time of day. It makes a terrific breakfast, a lovely lunch, or a perfect light spring supper.

  • 2 tsp butter
  • 1 heaping Tbsp minced shallots
  • ½ tsp fresh thyme (if you can get your hands on lemon thyme, it’s the best in this recipe)
  • ⅛ tsp salt
  • ⅛ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 oz morel mushrooms, thinly sliced crosswise
  • 1 Tbsp mascarpone cheese
  • ¼ tsp fresh lemon zest
  • 2 slices whole grain rye or sourdough toast
  • 1 tsp chopped green garlic tops or fresh chives

1. Melt butter in a pan over medium low heat. Add the shallot, thyme, salt, and pepper, and cook until shallots are soft and fragrant, about 2-3 minutes.

2. Add the morels, and continue to cook until morels begin to soften slightly, about 2-3 minutes more.

3. Stir in the lemon zest and mascarpone until mascarpone is melted in and well incorporated.

4. Spoon the mushroom mixture on top of the toasts, sprinkle with green garlic or chives, and serve immediately.

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