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Magic Mushrooms

There are friends, and then there are capital F friends. You know what I’m talking about. There are the friends you run into occasionally around town, when you’re reaching for the same wedge of cheddar at the cheese counter at Whole Foods (it could happen), that you chat up and catch up with briefly and think kind thoughts towards. And then there are the friends who email you that they picked a ginormous cache of morels mushrooms off their parents nearby property and offer to bring them over for dinner. Faryn and Eli are those kind of friends. There are friends that help you move from one location to another, and then there are friends that help you move morels from your fork to your face. True blue, forever and ever friends. Those kind. That’s them.

A week ago today, our buddies came over with their almost 4 year-old son, some awesome 6-packs of beer, and a beautiful blue paper bag filled with morels the size of your entire hand. Have mercy. Glenn decided they’d be best showcased á la fried chicken, which was perhaps the most excellent decision he has ever made, at least in matters of fungi, that is. He served them alongside mountain trout topped with homemade watercress pesto and sorghum-sweetened mashed potatoes topped with a fried sage leaf. For dessert, I stewed some rhubarb with fresh-squeezed orange juice, maple sugar, and a vanilla bean, and then served the whole pink mess atop vanilla ice cream. Groan worthy, that meal was. Good friends, indeed.

Chicken-Fried Morel Mushrooms

You Will Need:
-Morel mushrooms, in any amount you have the immensely good fortune of encountering
-All-purpose flour
-One egg, beaten
-1-2 teaspoons smokey paprika
-Pinch of garlic powder
-Pinch of salt
-Freshly ground black pepper
-Lard or peanut oil, for frying

To Make:
1) If the morels are big, slice them in half lengthwise. There are different schools of thought about cleaning them, but we usually wash them in cold water and let them dry off on a dish towel.
2) Once they are dry, dip each mushroom in the beaten egg, then dredge in a bowl containing the mixed dry ingredients.
3) Fry the mushrooms in a heavy pan with at least a quarter inch of oil. Cook on medium heat (make sure there is a sizzle) for a couple minutes then flip them over and cook for a couple more minutes until they are a nice golden brown-light mahogany color all around.
4) Drain  for a few minutes on a wire rack and sprinkle with a little extra salt if you like. Serve and enjoy.

4 Responses to Magic Mushrooms

  • Laura D says:

    Oh, you are so lucky to have friends like that. When I was younger, I grew up with my grandparents, and my grandfather used to hunt morels on his property. At the time, I hated all fungus, wouldn’t be caught dead eating a mushroom (even if it was on a pizza) and didn’t understand why he loved these so much. Oh, how sad I am now that I never tried them, or learned from him where the old hunting spots for these were!!!

  • Sage Franetovich says:

    Great friends!
    Mushrooms- one more reason to love the rain!

  • Amber says:

    Down in the Carolinas Piedmont, morel season is now over, but it was terrific while it lasted! Very few black morels, but a lot of blonde ones. The heavy rains, the cool temperatures produced a bumper crop. Next year I’ll have to try your recipe. Wrote about our method here:

  • KC says:

    Wow, my mouth is so watering right now! Yummy!