Fresh morel mushrooms are starting to pop up in grocery stores, just in time for spring. Deeply earthy and delicately flavored, morels have an innate savory mushroominess and an incredible meaty texture, thanks to its sponge-like appearance. Sadly, morels aren't cheap to buy, but a little goes a long way. 

I stopped by our local Whole Foods in search of these woodland fungi, and though they usually appear around the first few weeks of April, with this year's heat wave, I think I might have missed them. So I got the next best thing — dried morels. Although a little disappointed, I wasn't too sad because the dried variety actually have 2 things going for them that the fresh don't: more concentrated flavor and a long shelf life.

Armed with my pricey purchase in hand, I went home and whipped up a savory omelet for dinner. And because the morel has a delicate flavor, it pairs exceptionally well with the equally delicate egg. 

Morel Omelet with Garlic and Tarragon
This is a tasty breakfast or dinner for one. Simply double (or quadruple!) the amounts if cooking for more. I use the soaking liquid from the mushrooms to give the eggs extra depth.

3 large dried morel mushrooms
1 cup boiling water
1 1/2 teaspoons butter
1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
2 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 large egg
1 large egg white
2 teaspoons canola oil

1. Place mushrooms in a small bowl. Pour water over mushrooms. Let stand 10 minutes; drain, reserving 3 tablespoons soaking liquid. Slice mushrooms lengthwise into 1/4-inch strips.
2. Melt butter in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic to pan; cook 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add mushrooms and 1/8 teaspoon salt to pan; cook 2 minutes or until done. Remove mushroom mixture from pan. Wipe pan clean with a paper towel. 
3. Whisk together reserved soaking liquid, tarragon, and next 4 ingredients (through egg white). Return pan to medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add egg mixture to pan, spreading evenly. Cook egg mixture until edges begin to set (about 1 minute). Slide front edge of spatula between edge of omelet and pan. Gently lift edge of omelet, tilting pan to allow any uncooked egg mixture to come in contact with pan. Repeat procedure on opposite edge of omelet. Continue cooking until center is just set (about 2 minutes). Return mushroom mixture to pan, placing it over one half of omelet. Loosen omelet with a spatula, and fold in half. Carefully slide omelet onto a plate. Serve immediately.


CALORIES 244; FAT 20.2g (sat 5.9g, mono 9.3g, poly 3.6g); PROTEIN 11.8g; CARB 4.5g; FIBER 0.5g; CHOL 227mg; IRON 1.3mg; SODIUM 465mg; CALC 54mg