A Taste of Heaven: Morels

I have really good friends. I already knew that, but today, my friend Karli brought me the equivalent of culinary heaven. Morels. WOW. How did I get to be so lucky?!

I haven’t tasted morels in at least 10 years, but growing up, they were the annual taste of spring. The home I grew up in was nestled in the middle of a state park. We had miles of groomed hiking trails and a series of lakes just steps from our back door. We strolled along the hiking paths all seasons, but spring brought special delights – the delicately beautiful trillium that only grow in shady, wild spots, followed by mayapples – those oddly delicious orbs hiding beneath green umbrella-like canopies. Just about the same time, the field at the end of our street erupted in the white, purple and pink blooms of lilacs, and you could smell their heady fragrance a half-block away. Lilacs are still my very favorite flower. The morel stash was in the same field as the lilacs, and the strange looking mushrooms would peek out of the long grasses underneath the poplar trees.

After dinner on spring evenings, the whole family would walk down to the end of the street, and look for these precious fungi. The hunt probably makes them taste at least twice as good, as you always feel a special thrill each time you find one and shout out about your discovery. But sauteed in butter, with a little white wine, garlic, rosemary and a splash of cream – foodie nirvana. Thank you, dear Karli for your wonderful gift of morels!

Sauteed morels over rice pasta (using this recipe from last week).

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