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April 15th, 2011

Morel Season in the Mountains!

It's springtime in the Blue Ridge Mountains, and that means all kinds of wild, wonderful produce including fresh peas and beans, wild ramps, spring onions, asparagus, and the most prized Spring treat of all, morel mushrooms. After a long trek through the hills, we came back with one tiny, wonderful grey morel; a great find, but not quite enough for a feast. Lucky for me, a week or so later, Alan Muskat, who leads wonderful wild food tours in Western North Carolina (check his site out for lots of great info on mushroom and wild foods foraging), emailed to announce that the season was finally upon us and that he had a pound of freshly picked morels to fix my jones!

The "3-way" amuse bouche is the first of five courses I ended up making using the morels; serving them this way allows you to really enjoy the mushroom's woody aromas and intoxicating flavors without a lot of interference. The ragout celebrates fresh fava beans and spring onions, other local springtime delicacies, and the crunchy, nicely browned pizza is terrific with the woody morels.

If you can't find morels in your area, you can order them online, the best price we've found is $35/pound from Midwest Morels.

Recipe: Morels 3 Ways: Soy Sauce Pickle, Caraway Cream, En Papillote
Recipe: Morel, Fava Bean, and Spring Onion Ragout
Recipe: Morel & Fontina Pizza