June 22, 2011
My most recent morel forage was much more successful than the first! Check out these lovely, blond morels, which I found in good numbers between White Pass and Naches. I have to credit my guide from ediblemushrooms.org with leading me to this sweet spot. However, both of us were surprised to find so many blond morels, which are less common, and not a single black one.
My experimental, spring themed, morel risotto recipe below was a great way to use these blond beauties! Plus it pairs well with chicken and asparagus (another seasonal delicacy this time of year).
2 spring onions, chopped including the nicer parts of the greens
2 large shallots, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups of fresh morels, cut length wise
3 cups arborio rice (risotto)
4 cups broth
2 cups morel water
½ cup dry white wine
2 tbsp fresh chive
2-3 tbsp cream cheese (my secret ingredient for extra creaminess!)
1 cup finely shredded parmesan
Salt, pepper, and thyme to taste
Before chopping the fresh morels, wash them in salted water for a few minutes and drain. Then soak them in salted water again for 20 minutes to create your morel water. In the meantime, prep the rest of your ingredients and chop your vegetables.
To begin, heat a small amount of oil in a large pot and add the shallots, garlic, and onion, but save the green parts of the onion for later. Once the onion turns translucent, add the arborio rice and more oil and let the rice gently toast for a few minutes until some of the grains start to turn golden brown. Next add the broth to the rice until covered (about 2 cups) and stir it fairly continuously until it absorbs. Repeat with the rest of the broth and then add 1 cup of morel water.
While the liquid is absorbing, season the mixture with sprinkles of salt, pepper, and thyme to taste. Once the first cup of morel water has absorbed add another cup of morel water as well as the white wine. When the liquid is mostly absorbed, add the onion greens and morels, which will add more moisture to the mixture. When the risotto is done, the rice should be slightly al dente and you should still be able to decipher each individual grain. To finish, stir in the chives, cream cheese, and parmesan until combined and deliciously creamy.