ISO Advice for Cooking Morels, King Trumpets w/ Pasta

I impulsively bought some fresh CA-grown morels and king trumpets (KT) today, and then some Community Grains dried pappardelle and Prather Ranch roast chicken stock. (It’s dangerous to wander through the SF Ferry Market Building even after lunch.)

Any advice on cleaning, cooking the mushrooms would be much appreciated, as I’ve never prepared either. My specific questions are:

-should the morels be sliced lengthwise or horizontally? (The shop clerk said horizontally – ?)
-do I really need an aromatic like shallots? (I’m using garlic lightly.)
-would the flavor of the mushrooms be enhanced by deglazing w/ vermouth? (I’m inclined not to.)
-would Parmesan really bring much to the mushroom party?

Here’s what I thought I’d do, based on stuff I’ve heard over the years:

-trim the morels’ stalks a bit, then half lengthwise unless very small or very big. Soak in warm, lightly salted water, rinse, repeat unless water is clear/clean. Pat dry gently. Leave to air dry.

-trim the KTs’ stalks, rinse under running water. Dry as above. Slice in lengths.

-Melt butter slowly with one crushed garlic clove. Lightly pan-toast some Panko bread crumbs in the melted butter. Toss with a bit of lemon zest while warm. Set aside.

-melt olive oil, butter in large skillet. Add morels, sautee until lightly browned. Lower heat, add KT’s, stirring/tossing for maybe 2 min.

-add maybe 1/2 cup chicken stock, deglaze quickly, scraping up bits. Add splash of low-salt Tamari sauce, shake pan. Swirl in large chunk of butter. Cut heat, set aside.

-cook pappardelle in salted water, add to skillet directly from water while still undercooked. Mix, toss to combine.

-finish under very low heat, adding stock/cooking water, as needed.

-serve topped with the bread crumbs

Thanks for any tips you’ve got!

When I’m ‘blessed’ with morels, I do the very minimum. I slice in half lengthwise and saute’ in butter with nothing but s&p. And then serve them as a side. Nothing more.

1 Like

Be aware that fresh morels can harbor a shit ton of ants and other small crawlies.

You’ll likely need several baths for them.

1 Like

We used to live in Oregon where the morels were ‘harvested’ from ‘secret’ places. But I never saw any bugs. Maybe just Oregon :slight_smile: But I’d eat the occasional bug to have morels. Last year, WF had them, and they weren’t that beautiful, for $50/#. Sigh.

1 Like

Interesting! I probably have quite enough of the KT’s for a pasta dish, and they’re nice and meaty. Maybe I’ll just enjoy the morels on their own. Thanks!

Thanks for that confirmation. The shop folks said they’d need several soaks and that a little salt would help bring out any critters.

Cut and rinse quickly . You can cut them anyway you want . Simple is best . I would not soak them . Then into the pan to cook .

1 Like

Agree with ‘rinse but don’t soak.’

2 Likes

These were from the Fresno area, definitely wild. (They said the one cultivated morel out there was tasteless.) The little basket of them, on the whole, looked pretty firm and unwithered. No signs of bugs but we’ll see when I clean 'em. They’re in a paper bag in the fridge, right now, as recommended.

Are you talking about the KT’s? Because multiple people have said morels really need soaking.

I’ve been buying local, fresh morels for over 20 years and never even rinsed and certainly didn’t soak.

2 Likes

I’m not sure how the lemon/mushroom combo will go… I would think to swap in just a little parm with the breadcrumbs as a topping.
I always add soy sauce when cooking mushrooms but i think your tamari is a good sub if you don’t have soy sauce.

Sounds like an amazing meal!

1 Like

Have you ever had morels? I’m stubborn in my opinion that you’ll cover their wonderful, earthy, subtle flavor with much of anything. I have had a glorious morel risotto.

1 Like

Exactly . Naked is better . Why ruin the flavor of a delicate food . It’s the star of the Show .

2 Likes

Soak. Unless you like lots of extra protein in your dish.

PS: I think your pasta plan sounds wonderful.

I still have a bunch of dried morels in the pantry… might use them for a nice steak sauce, since pasta’s off the menu for the foreseeable future.

1 Like

I’m not wedded to the lemon – thought a small bit of zest would add a bright note to the heavier richness. Thanks for the advice.

Not as a stand-alone dish or even as a primary component. But I’m looking forward to it. Hmm, I think I feel more familiar with black truffles, not that I’ve cooked with them.

I guess I was thinking that the excellent-quality pasta I got would be a simple enough setting for them. But yeah, I think it’ll be morels on their own and a pasta w/ the KTs.

If you eat pasta, I really recommend Community Grains. The depth of flavor and texture are great. http://shop.communitygrains.com/collections/pasta

I’d toss a couple morels into the pasta .

1 Like
“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold