Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Hut Hut!

As any experienced mushroom hunter knows, “Hut Hut!” is the cry of victory yelled through the woods when you find Morel Mushrooms.

This variety of mushroom is one of the most sought after species in the fungi family. And while buying them from the Farmers Market would cost you the current going rate on Rolling Stones tickets, finding them in the wild is oh so much more enjoyable.

Maybe it’s because forced cultivation has not been perfected, maybe it’s just the hunt, but every family of mushroom hunters waits for the spring with anticipation and dreams of garbage bags full of little brown, yellow, or grey honeycombed caps. Each family also has their secrets.

It might be the time of year: Only when the apple blossoms are in full bloom.
It might be the location: Under a dead Elm tree.
It might be a guarded located: With just the right amount of dew and sunlight.

But whenever or where ever you find your stash it becomes a treasured and defended plot of land. If you’re lucky the secret gets passed down within the family.

In our house growing up, we always had a mushroom season where the five of us would go out and scurry the valley side. My parents still find tons every year. Yes dad, I am jealous, but thanks for the pictures. My mom will clean the extra morels in water and a little salt and then freeze them in water for the winter season. It’s a wonderful treat!

While the classic French preparation puts morels in the same league as Truffles and Caviar, my favorite use is sautéed in butter with salt and pepper, served with a nice steak….

*Pictures by D.Welch*

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