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Wednesday, June 20, 2012


Yellow Morels
Photo from:
 the aurelian
morilla, crispilla, colmenilla (small honey comb), OCast crespilla, L Morchella, Eng morel. These are wild edible mushrooms with caps looking like beehives. Some are rounded and others pointed. They are more abundant when the spring is rainy. It is recommended that they be well cooked. If eaten raw they can be slightly toxic. There are three major types: yellow (M. escultenta), black (M.conica) and half free (M. semilibera).  The yellow morels range from honey brown to yellow. When leaves cover them or when young they can be grayish or whitish. They have a hollow white stem. They can grow to be almost foot high around streams and in apple orchards. The texture is meaty and the flavor is delicate. They are thought to be the best of all edible mushrooms and are most exquisite in April. Black morels shoot out of the ground in pine forests during March being the first of the morels to appear in spring. These can be white while covered with leaves. While growing to be a foot or more in height, the caps become dark brown. The pits are lighter and the ridges darker. The stems are whitish. Some people have an allergic reaction to them resulting in stomach upset. It is not recommended to drink alcohol when trying them for the first time. The half free morel is a species with only half the cap attached to the stem. Except for this, they look like black morels. It is the second of the morels to appear after the black and before the yellow ones. Although they are as tasty as the other morels, their consistency is more fragile. Over the ages these have been dried and crushed into powder form and used throughout the year to season soups and sauces. [ES: Falcó. Jul 9, 04; ES: Kuo. Dec 2, 02; Villena/Brown. 1984:166; Villena/Calero. 2001:63 ftn 144:39b; Villena/Navarro. 1879:263] 

Morchella semilibera 'Half-free...
Photo from:
 MO FunGuy


1 lb morel mushrooms
1 onion sliced
2 tbsp chopped parsley leaves
1 tsp coriander
3/4 c red wine
¼ c verjuice
1-1 ½ tsp mixed spices (make a mixture of 4.2 oz ginger scrapings, 3.17 oz cinnamon, 1 oz white pepper, 0.5 oz cloves, 0.5 oz nutmeg, 0.5 oz mace, 0.26 oz saffron)
¼ c extra virgin olive oil

11th Course: "Char"
(with morel sauce seen on the left side of the plate)
Photo from:
 ulterior epicure

Parboil the mushrooms. Drain well, dice them and lightly sauté in oil. Put the onion, parsley and coriander in a food processor and grind them. Add mixed spices, wine, verjuice and mushrooms. Add salt to taste. Let sit for a few hours. Bring to a boil and serve.

[1] According to Carolyn A. Nadeau, although early Italian MSS, including Apicius, provide recipes for mushrooms, Sent Soví contains the first recipes for them in other European MSS. Sent Soví also is the first Iberian MS to include parsley and pork in its recipes. See: “Contributions of Medieval Food Manuals to Spain‘s Culinary Heritage. Cincinnati Romance Review 33 (Winter 2012): 59-77.

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