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Sauteed Morels (Morel Mushrooms)

A Quick & Easy Way to Cook Morel Mushrooms

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Sauteed Morels (Morel Mushrooms)

Sauteed Morel Mushrooms

Photo © Molly Watson
Morels (morel mushrooms) are wild mushrooms that come in any color from cream to gray to brown to almost black. They look like little spongy cones and contain the most remarkably wild and forest-y flavor. Morels are found in the spring most places and into summer in cooler climates. Look for them in the wild with an experienced guide, or at farmers markets and specialty grocery stores.

A fabulous way to cook morels is to saute them in butter and sprinkle them with salt. Small morels can be cooked whole, larger morels can be halved, quartered, or chopped as you like. Like many wild mushrooms, morels contain some amount of toxins. Don't panic, the toxins in morels aren't deadly, but if eaten raw or undercooked, morels can cause an upset stomach. Proper cooking fro 15 to 20 minutes gets rid of these nausea-inducing toxins.

To cook morels without stewing them, cook only as many morels as will fit in the pan you have in a single layer. Heat a frying pan or saute pan over medium heat. Add about 2 tablespoons of butter and once it is melted, add the morels (or the amount of morels you're cooking in this batch). Cook, stirring, until morels release their liquid, about 5 minutes. Continue cooking, adjusting the heat to maintain a light simmer of the mushrooms, until the morels are cooked through and the liquid has evaporated, about 10 minutes. Transfer the morels to a plate or serving platter and sprinkle with sea salt or fleur de sel. Serve hot or warm.

Since I love love love the flavor of morels, I tend to keep them plain, but you may want to add 1/4 cup heavy cream and/or a splash of dry sherry after the morels release their liquid and cook them in a bit more of a sauce. When cooked this way, I like to serve the resulting morels on well buttered toasted baguette slices.

Note: Their unique structure means morels require a thorough washing - something to be avoided with most mushrooms. Soak morels quickly in cool water to draw out at grit, swish them around, lift the morels out of the water, and pat them dry. (See more about How to Clean Morels here.)

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