Posts Tagged 'Morels'

“A Mess of Mushrooms.”

Do these look familiar? Just seeing the box brought up so many memories of chilly early mornings in May, traipsing out in the country with my dad looking for these elusive gems: morel mushrooms. I looked forward to it all year.

Mushroom hunting was a top-secret venture in Quincy. You took no one with you and told no one where you were going. Neighbors would talk about bring home a “mess of mushrooms” but I knew better than to inquire where they found them. It was impolite even to ask.

So, I was thrilled to find this box at our local Farmer’s Market last Saturday. Tom’s Czech grandma lived in Cicero which has an annual 3 day festival and parade to honor the lowly Houby (mushroom in Czech.) He was definitely in for the purchase.

On the way to the stand, Tom and I wondered how high the price would be and decided how much we were willing to spend, $10.

“$50 a pound” the guy pronounced. I have never purchased any food item for anything close to that price.

“But you can just buy a few if you wish” he offered. I pulled out my $10 and he put three in the bag, 3!

The adventure was on!

Cut in half and soaking.

We came home and watched five you-tube videos on how to prepare them. Didn’t want to risk ruining any sliver of the golden fungi. Good thing we did as Tom was ready to sample a tiny bite raw. “Eating them raw will send you to the hospital.” An important fact to keep in mind.

Tom started the soaking process, crucial for eliminating bugs. The videos had different opinions for how long this was to go on. Salt or no salt? Hot or cold water? Each one offered a different method.

Then the choice of: flour/egg/dry/lard/butter/oil. Each recipe had variations. Cooking our three morels was getting so complicated.

Options for coating the gems.

Houby master at work.

“Cook for one minute on each side” said one script. “Cook for seven minutes on each side” announced another. Keeping the threat of the hospital in mind, we decided to go with more like five.

Sizzlin’ in the skillet

 

Finally they were done. I decided to try to get as many minuscule bites out of my 1.5 as I could. Still didn’t take long to wipe them out.

A tad crispy!

Not quite like I remember from back in the day but the same could be said for a lot of things. Of course, we didn’t just buy the mushrooms but the culinary experience and certainly the nostalgia. I don’t think I’ll find another patch under an old tree like before so this will have to be it.

What food item would you pay $50 a pound for?

Hope for the best,

Tish



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