Morel mushrooms are definitely not the easiest kind of fungi to source. They usually spring up around dead trees but not every kind of dead tree. If you miss out on getting the Morel mushrooms while the tree is dying, you’ve missed your opportunity completely.
Most people find Morel mushrooms in the wild, and it can be very difficult to find them in grocery stores or markets. That’s just down to their rarity, so you probably won’t find a lot of recipes for how to cook Morel mushrooms on the stove or by other means.
Still, these mushrooms are so good that I want to share a recipe for how to cook them up, and you can modify that and add in other ingredients and seasonings and make these the way you like.
If you are sourcing Morel mushrooms in the wild on your own, you need to be really careful that you identify them properly. Mushrooms are tricky plants in that a lot of them are unsafe to eat and then others need to be specially prepared to be safe for consumption.
So, be careful as you try to gather them and make sure you’ve identified them properly. It’s not a bad idea to check with a local mushroom expert before you start cooking these up and adding them to your food.
I know that’s a lot of disclaimer to start with, but these are not the typical grocery item you’ll find in your supermarket. You have to be kind of careful with Morel mushrooms and any kind of wild mushroom.
Finding and Preparing Morel Mushrooms
Morel mushrooms need to be properly prepared before eating. They do contain toxins in their raw form and will need to be cooked thoroughly to be safe to eat.
You can end up with mushrooms that look like Morels but are not and are actually completely unsafe to eat. To avoid these false Morels, make sure you get a mushroom that has the stem and cap intact and that does not contain any fibrous materials inside the mushroom. Authentic Morel mushrooms are hollow inside.
Another thing to know about how to prepare and cook morel mushrooms is that they can contain bugs. The caps can be hollow on the inside, plus the outside of the caps is full of holes. Those holes are great place for bugs to hide out, so you want to clean out the Morel mushrooms thoroughly. You can’t simply rinse them and then dry them off and be done. That will not get out all the bugs and debris inside the mushroom caps.
I would use a salt extraction method to get the dirt and bugs out of the mushroom caps. You can do this by adding a tablespoon of salt to a bowl and then filling it up about halfway with warm but not hot water.
Then, add your Morels and a few layers of paper towel on top and press the Morel mushrooms down to submerge them completely. What the paper towels do is absorb water and ensure the Morels stay under the water, and that will help you extract bugs and dirt from the mushrooms.
Allow the mushrooms to soak for about 2 hours in the fridge or leave them in the refrigerator overnight. It’s not a bad idea to agitate the mushrooms, shaking them every so often. Expect to see some bugs come out of there.
It wouldn’t hurt to soak them a second time, using a fresh bowl and fresh paper towels. You can soak them for another hour or two, just to get everything out of there.
You have learned the first part of how to clean and cook Morel mushrooms, and now let’s get into how to fry them up on the stove.
Morel Mushrooms- How to Cook
I will keep my recipe for how to cook Morel mushrooms as simple as possible, and you can use different seasonings than what I use, but most people recommend a similar stovetop cooking method for these mushrooms.
Morel Mushrooms- How to Cook
- 1 pound of fresh Morel mushrooms
- 1 cup of flour
- 1 pinch of black pepper
- 1 tsp of sea salt
- 1 tsp of onion powder
- 1 pinch of paprika
- 1 tsp of garlic powder
- After your mushrooms have been thoroughly clean, drain them of water and put them on a cutting board. Slice off the edges of the stems and then cut the mushrooms in half.
- Fill a bowl with some salt and water and add in your halved mushrooms with a paper towel and allow them to soak for about an hour. You can remove the mushrooms from the water and place them on a dry kitchen towel to let them to drain.
- Use a large resealable bag to combine your garlic, salt, pepper, onion powder, and flour. Add about five or six mushrooms to your bag and seal the bag. Then, shake the contents of the bag to coat the mushrooms.
- Remove the mushrooms from the bag and shake off any excess flour. Place your mushrooms onto a baking sheet and give each mushroom enough space so that they do not touch each other.
- Take a stick of butter and melt it in a skillet over medium heat. Add your coated mushrooms to the hot butter and cook for about 6 minutes. Cook them until they're golden brown on one side and then turn them over weather forecast spatula to cook for another 5 or 6 minutes. You want to keep cooking them until they're golden brown all over.
- From there, take your Morel mushrooms out of the pan and place them on a paper towel to drain. Cook all of your mushrooms this way and add more butter if you need to. Since your pan is already hot, the other mushrooms may cook up faster than the first batch.
- You can garnish them with the paprika to serve.
Now you know how to cook Morel mushrooms, and this is a food that you need to be careful with. It’s important that you choose authentic Morel mushrooms and that you prepare them properly and cook them thoroughly. Otherwise, you can end up with food poisoning from consuming toxins.
It is also important that you know how long to cook Morel mushrooms for. Remember, you need to cook them until they’re golden brown on both sides. On a medium heat, that should take about 6 or 7 minutes on one side and then five or six minutes on the other side.
The cooking time may vary based on your heat and pan and how many mushrooms you have, but the important thing is that the coating for the mushrooms becomes golden brown.
This method for how to cook Morel mushrooms in butter can be substituted by using oil, if you want to cut dairy out of the recipe. Any oil will really do, including coconut oil, olive oil, or plain vegetable oil.
Finished Morel mushroom should have a texture and taste that is quite a bit like fried chicken. You can treat them similarly in your meal and pair them with the same kind of dishes you would pair fried chicken with and even serve them with similar sauces for fried chicken tenders.
These mushrooms don’t have much of the woodsy, wild taste that a lot of mushrooms do and tend to have more of a meaty texture and flavour to them. I think that’s part of their appeal and why they are so sought after.