Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Morels! Fresh Morels! found at the grocery store for 7.99. This is an incredible find. Morels are very rare, and not usually cultivated. I have seen them dried at Whole Foods for something like 80.00 per pound.
Morel Morchella spp., Discomycetes.
I have had one morel, once before in my life, 13 years ago. I was working as a gardener on my hands and knees under a blue spruce. I was weeding by hand, it was a very progressive company run by an amazing swiss man and master gardener who hired me as an apprentice for the summer. We used no pesticides or herbicides and instead painstakingly removed weeds by hand, on a property that was apporximatly 40 acres. The gardening became a very zen like practice for me and everyday, the physicality combined with the repetition of the practice altered my state a little, I went through a transformation and noticed every root, insect, bloom, and bud and the relationships of these plant forms to one another. I became highly aware of how much beautiful activity is flowing around us daily, that we miss because our heads are too high from the ground. Anyway, I digress, I was on my knees under a blue spruce, where it was dark and damp and cool. The needles of the spruce were like poisonous darts, if you got stabbed by one you ended up with a great deal of pain and a welt. Beside me was a woman named Kathleen, and she handed me a morel she had picked while the smell of the spruce tree permeated our senses. She asked me, have you ever had one? I had never even seen one before. It was odd shaped looked like a cross between a gnome hat and a honeycomb. She told me to go home and slice it and saute it in butter.
I remember being nervous because she had just picked it, there in the garden? What if it's poisonous. I followed her instructions and was flabberghasted how flavourful, earthy, deep and decadent one little mushroom could taste. The one and only morel I have ever had, 13 years ago. That is until now.
I took these beauties carefully washed them sliced them leaving big enough pieces that I could chew them. I sauteed them lightly in butter and finished them with white wine. They shrunk down by about half. I made some gorgeous velvety scrambled eggs and poured the morels over top of them. They were so delicious, I think I cried a little while I ate them, luscious, gorgeous, decadent, earthy, sweet and salty. I feel so much gratitude for the diversity of food. If you ever happen to see fresh morels available any where I appeal to your inner hedonist, bring them to the checkout and open your wallet, I guarnetee you will thank me.