Despite a gossamer gloss of frost in the low-lying areas of my neighborhood this morning, an honest sign of Spring reassuringly appeared at my local farmer’s market today: MORELS!!
Like ramps and truffles, morels are one of those highly sought-after treasures of a narrow-banded growing season that, despite their oft-inflated cost, is irresistible.
Knowing that this is probably the only chance I’ll get to cook morels at home this year, I debated on a number of preparations. There’s always the traditional – with loads of butter and salt. Then, there’s the bacon way. I’m not so technologically-advanced to produce something like Grant Achatz’s morel “puff” I had last year at the James Beard Awards, but I *could* replicate Jean Georges Vongerichten’s very simple, very Alsatian vinegar-spiked recipe for morels in cream sauce.
In the end, I decided to keep things simple, but flavorful.
After a thorough soak and rinse (there’s an amazing amount of dirt hiding in the wrinkles) I sauteed these little gems in some olive oil with loads of chopped garlic, a dash of salt, and a splash of white wine to deglaze the pan. A crusty piece of bread is essential to sop up all the great sauce.
In the coming weeks, I’ll be putting down seedlings in edible garden for the 2008 harvest.