Morels evoke springtime in the woods, adding nutty and earthy tones to a variety of recipes.
March 29, 2016
1 of 6Photo: Randy Mayor
Spring Pasta with Morels
Morel madness sets in with seasonal-food fiends this time of year. If you haven't had a fresh morel, the $30-a-pound price might seem insane. But you don't need many to get that morel essence, and they're not heavy. What you get is this: a delightfully chewy texture and woodsy, almost smoky flavor in a mushroom that has a pleasing honeycomb texture. If you need to economize, you can use half cremini or button mushrooms. The bold woodsy taste will suffuse the dish, and you'll now be a morel fiend.
Here, like many of their fellow fungi, morels are right at home with noodles and creamy sauce.
Blanching the asparagus first helps set its color and texture. To ensure the best taste and cut down on prep time in the kitchen, buy firm, unshriveled morels that are dry, not slimy, and free of excessive dirt.
This is as simple—and delicious—as it gets: earthy mushrooms, crisp asparagus, and a wee hit of citrus to bring it all together. This robust and delicate side calls for black trumpet mushrooms but morels work perfectly as a substitute.