I was out camping over the weekend. While it was cold and wet, the morels are out early this year. Picked a bunch and bought a bunch. Lightly sauteed in butter with a few shreds of bacon. Served with polenta. Great camping fare.
Mmmmm fresh Morels. I split them in half length wise and soak them in salt water to kill any free loaders. Saute in butter and finish with a little sploosh of Drambuie.
The honey in Drambuie has a nice finish with the earthyness of the shrooms. White Morels are my favorite as they tend to be a little thicker and meatier than black or brown morels. They also get a lot bigger which is nice if you get them before they set too long. Several years ago I picked a patch of whites that were the size of smurf huts.
My youngest and I were out on his birthday recently, hiking and hunting for Yellow Morels. We cashed in, 5 lbs! Personally, to me the Yellow Morel is one of the mushrooms that the flavor dramatically improves when dried, but dried properly. I brush them off with a fairly stiff brush, then halve them and sweep out the spiders, centipedes, ants, slugs, snails and other critters that like to make them home. Then I lay them on a cooling rack and let them air dry. The flavor becomes like concentrated hazelnuts or such (the aroma in the house becomes almost too much, it's so delicious), it's really ridiculous to take a handful of those, place them in cream, rehydrate for about 1 hr and then use that as your cream for a reduction. Although it's weird I think enzymes or something seem to almost coagulate the cream, but under the heat it returns just fine. Otherwise, fresh they are very very mild. So we dried probably 80% of them. I put some in mac-n-cheese the other day and it was good. There are many mushrooms I typically send right to the dehydrator but this seems to prevent the Morels from getting a good flavor. If you use this method a small fan just to keep the air moving is a good idea if it is humid, otherwise you can get away with it.
I may have to give drying them a shot. That is similar to Shiitake mushrooms where the dried ones have a much more intense flavor. We actually picked a bunch of white ones as well. They got eaten first, so they weren't available for picture taking. We discovered them on my friend's property. A group of us have been camping there every spring for the last 30 years and this is the first time we found some on his property. Of course you have to be in just the right place at just the right time. They are early this year in this area. Mother's Day would be more normal.