I’m from the Pacifc Northwest and grew up eating the local flora and fauna. My grandfather, mother and stepfather all used to take me mushroom picking and we would get giant bags of morels. They are my absolute favorite but, the hardest for me to find.
I rarely hunt mushrooms anymore so when I see morels available from Far West Fungi, I get very excited. Its springtime and fiddlehead ferns are available too! These two are a perfect pairing and taste like springtime on a plate.
This is a pretty rich version of this dish as I used heavy cream and pancetta, but it really can be lightened up if you leave those out and it will be just as good. A few fresh green peas would be a great addition too.
I served mine with some ravioli from Trader Joe’s and it was wonderful.
Morel and Fiddlehead Ragout
- 1 lb fresh morels
- 6 oz Fresh Fiddlehead tops
- some pancetta, diced (optional)
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 shallots, diced
- olive oil
- 3 Tbs butter
- fresh thyme
- red pepper flakes
- salt and fresh ground pepper
- 1/4 Cup heavy cream
Fiddleheads need to be blanched for about 4 minutes in salted, boiling water before you can eat them. Do not eat them raw! They can make you sick and they taste bitter ( I used to eat them raw when I was a kid but I guess never in enough quantity to upset my stomach). Cut off any browned ends, Wash in cold lemon water, pick off any brown or rust-colored debris from them. It can take several rinsings to get them all green and fresh looking.
Dump them in boiling salt water, let them go for 4-6 minutes and scoop them out and into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking and keep them green.
Prep the morels. Generally it’s a bad idea to wash mushrooms since they are so spongy it’s easy to get them waterlogged and soggy. However, morels tend to hold more dirt than can easily be wiped off with a paper towel.
I slide them in half and drop them in a bowl of cold water, swish them around for a while and lift them out – leaving the dirt in the bowl. Then place them, spaced out onto a paper towel to dry. I also gave mine a pat and a little squeeze with more paper towels.
Cook the pancetta in a skillet for about 4 minutes and add the shallots and garlic. Cook till the fat is rendered, the pancetta is light brown and the garlic and shallots are translucent. Add 2 Tbs butter, a shot of olive oil and the mushrooms. Add thyme, nutmeg, pepper flakes and pepper. Cook till mushrooms have released their moisture and use that to deglaze the pan and scrape up all the yummy bits. Add the fiddle heads and cook till most of the moisture is evaporated.
Add the cream and cook a bit more, stirring, till incorporated. Adjust seasoning. Finish with the remaining tablespoon f butter, stirring till glossy. Serve over pasta with shaved Parmesan.