Morels: Minnesota’s Version of Truffle Season
Our counterparts in the old world have truffles. Perigord truffles, black truffles, and the prized white truffles from the area near Alba in Italy. In Minnesota, we have our Morel Season in the spring.
Morel mushrooms grow only in the wild, and only appear for a short time in late April or early May. Morel hunters have their secret spots which they never divulge. “Look for them in low lying, wooded areas, just after a rain while the lilacs are blooming.” For those of us who haven’t yet found our secret hunting spot, the dilemma is similar to our friends in Italy. $50/lb. Ouch! I’ll take 4 oz. please. Our current hunting area is the Mill City Farmers Market, but get there early or you might miss out!
Wine for Your Morels
You won’t want to muddy up your taste of those magical Morels with a highly flavored wine, and this is no time to skimp. The clean, transparent taste of a nice Chablis or even a Blanc-de-Blanc Champagne is perfect. We opened a Premier Cru Chablis we carried back from France to enjoy with our morels and it was perfect. Steely, crisp, lemony and just the right amount of acidity.
Preparing Your Morels
If you have just a small sample, the best thing is to simply sauté them in a bit of butter. Slice the mushrooms in half lengthwise, carefully brush out any bits of dirt. Use the best quality butter you can find, and sauté gently and slowly. Then, serve them all alone or on a bit of baguette.