Morels In the Wild
As the title and above picture suggests, I was able to get out in the cold and rainy weather this weekend and find several good messes of morels. They were mostly larger yellow morels and scattered about randomly which both suggest that the season is about over with before it really every got started. We did find a few grey morels but they had all been up awhile from the looks of them. We might get some sunshine towards the middle of this week so perhaps there will be another batch pop up but I'm guessing by this weekend, which I'm already booked for other things, it probably the last weekend to find them.
We went to three of our favorite hunting grounds and all told came away with three gallon sized plastic bags full of cleaned mushrooms for our efforts, one of which amounted to my share. Due to the earlier spate of warm weather, the undergrowth is really starting to take off and earlier than normal so by next week, the only mushrooms you will be able to see are those you stub your toe on. You can spend all day in one spot moving the grasses back and forth trying to find them but it isn't worth the effort. Instead, we usually go back to identified "Mushroom Machines" where we have already found some and just search the undergrowth in that area.
All told, I probably walked a half dozen miles of terrain searching for those tasty fungi. At the first spot we went too, everyone encouraged Little Abbey to look for mushrooms in a particular area so she "found" all the mushrooms there. She walked for a good half mile picking "lonely" mushrooms and putting them with their "family" in the bag. For someone who weighs in at 35 pounds, she sure lugged a lot of mushrooms for a long ways before she tired out and I carried her back on my shoulders. She never did let me carry the bag of mushrooms or even trade it for my empty bag. They learn so quickly!
While she gave that batch a mushrooms a bath and took a nap, my father, brother and I went out for round two and found two more bags full. By the time we quit for the evening, it was cold, windy and a mist was beginning to fall. We gave up and went home where we feasted on sauteed mushrooms and fresh asparagus soup, what they would call a 'zero-mile' meal even if I had to walk five miles to pick some of it. But as you can see in the picture of my share, I have several more meals of them coming and I only have to walk from the refrigerator, to the stove, to the table to enjoy them. Life is good.
My Share of the Haul
2 T. butter
8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
1 lg. onion, chopped
2 lbs. asparagus, cut into pieces
2 1/2 c. chicken broth
1/2 t salt
1/4 t black pepper
Brown mushrooms in 1 T of butter. Remove from pan. Heat remaining 1 T. butter in same pan and caramelize onion. Puree onion, asparagus, chicken broth and salt in food processor. Return to pot with mushrooms and pepper.