Who knew a fungus and its wide range of species would be of such significance?
But some mushrooms are edible, and some are poisonous. And some don’t come around so easily but with a price tag.
The morel mushrooms, or morels, is one that comes by from March to May, making them expensive because they are dearth.
Another reason why they are so high-priced is that they have a unique taste, unlike other regular mushrooms.
It is one of those luxury ingredients that a chef would treat with utmost respect and regard, like the truffle or caviar.
What are Morel Mushrooms?
Morels, or Morchella or True Morels, is an edible sac fungi genus. They have a wrinkly and honeycomb-like texture on the surface.
What morels lack in appearance makes up for it in flavor. Morels are primarily popular in French cuisine and are a gourmet ingredient.
The deep-pitted hat-looking fungus can come in different colors, although from the same species. They range from gray, black, brown, and reddish to ashen.
Each morel is prized distinctly expensive, and that’s why you need to choose each wisely.
They are costly because they are difficult to cultivate commercially and bloom only during spring in the wild.
What Do Morel Mushrooms Taste Like? Do Morel Mushrooms Taste Good?
Morels are one of the best kinds of premium mushrooms because of their unique taste and scarcity.
Unlike other slimy mushrooms, morels have a fleshy texture.
And that’s one reason why those who don’t usually eat mushrooms fall in love with morels. Their flavor is also quite intensely nutty and earthy.
Some find the taste somewhat musky and smoky. Chasing Morels is quite a task as they keep changing and traveling places to grow.
One season you will find them in an orchard, and the next, they are gone.
If you have to compare its taste to some other food, it tastes a lot like the oyster’s lippy part.
They are meaty yet tender. They are so difficult to find and exotic; hence you will see them mostly in fine wine-and-dine restaurants.
But how nutritious are they? It depends on the soil and climate they grow in.
But most of them will have a notable amount of Copper, Iron, Phosphorous, Manganese, Vitamin D, Zinc, Niacin, and Folate.
They also are rich in antioxidants and contain a fair amount of Potassium, Calcium, Magnesium, Thiamine, Selenium, and vitamins B6 and E.
If all these nutrients were not enough, morels also have very few calories. Have a look at the nutrition content per 100 grams, to be precise.
Morels have also been popular as medicine for centuries now. The National Library of Medicine has laid down a review on the same.
Some of the distinct health benefits these mushrooms offer are:
- They have anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative properties.
- The antioxidants help in preventing tissue damage, thus avoiding cancer, diabetes, and heart diseases.
- The mycelium in morels acts as an agent in protecting the liver.
- They improve immunity and help combat diseases.
How to Cook Morel Mushrooms?
Yes, it is a luxury ingredient and hard to come around. But if you have been able to get some, you can treat it with as much respect and extract its flavor in the following ways.
- Fried Morels
Perhaps it’s the simplest way to eat morels. Make a batter out of eggs and a coating of your choice.
Dip the morels first in the batter and smear with the coating.
Now, fry them in butter in a skillet over medium heat.
Your coating can be of bread crumbs or crackers, whatever you fancy.
- Sautéed Morels
If you want to get the real flavor of morels, sautéing is the way.
Cook them in batches, dry skillet for about 4-5 minutes, and keep turning them until tender or golden brown.
Season them as per your liking. Once you finish cooking all the batches, put them all back in the skillet and sauté with butter, oil, shallots, and bourbon until dry.
- Morel Pizza
You may also include morels amongst other toppings on your favorite pizza.
Cut them into halves and toss them in the skillet with shallots, asparagus, thyme, and white wine to make your custom toppings.
Morels are one-of-a-kind wild foods, and you would be lucky if you can include them in your diet. They are rather expensive in supermarkets.
Thus, hunting them in the wild and harvesting them on your own may be a better shot.
But be careful to pick the genuine ones.
You will know you got real morels if they are hollow inside and are reddish-brown. Cut them in halves lengthwise to know.