Wednesday, May 28, 2008

foraging

Saturday we went to an undisclosed forest in Vermont in search of the elusive morel mushroom. Looking for morels takes some serious concentration and patience - they are nearly invisible because they blend in so well with the leaf-littered forest floor. You have to scan the ground for odd darkish lumps that could well be morels. And they are few and far between, so there is a lot of nothing in between short bursts of excitement.

We went foraging with a friend who is a very experienced mushroom hunter, and we came home with about 3 pounds of morels between the three of us - in dollars, this is about $120 worth of morels! Adam and I took 1.5 pounds of them and planned our dinner the whole way home.

First we had to go up to the woods to get some wild leeks, a perfect partner for morels. I spent a few hours digging leeks on Thursday at Fat Rooster, and it was hard work in the deep rich soil near the farm. Luckily though, the soil in our woods is rocky and shallow, and pulling the leeks was really easy!

We decided to make homemade pasta to go with our morels, because it has been a long time since we last made pasta, and it really is superior to anything store bought. It seemed inappropriate to have our precious foraged morels and leeks with run-of-the-mill dried pasta, so we broke out the old pasta maker and made a simple egg fettuccini.


I sauteed the leeks and morels in butter and reduced some white wine into the mixture. I added heavy cream and tarragon, seasoned it all with salt and pepper, and boiled it until it was thickened. We had the morel sauce over our fresh pasta with a sprinkle of freshly grated parmesan cheese on top. It was one of those meals that left us nearly speechless, aside from the occasional moan or exclamation of how amazing it was. Happily we still had about a half-pound of morels left, so we had another wonderful morel dinner on Sunday night!


3 comments:

emily said...

oh my gosh, i'm drooling! that sounds so good!!!!

Blanche and Guy said...

wow! that's fabulous! ... followed your link from your comment on Amanda's site... soulemama. :)

Ulla said...

Sounds really delicious! Your morels seem to be of the non-poisonous type. We have picked another kind early in the spring, they are darker and more irregular in shape, and they have to be boiled twice for 5 mins in lots of water and rinsed. And they are yummy!