- 1 1/2 pounds white asparagus, trimmed, peeled, cut diagonally into 3-inch lengths
- 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter, divided
- 6 ounces fresh morels, cleaned, halved if large
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
- 3/4 cup thinly sliced leeks (white and pale green parts only)
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
Cook asparagus in large saucepan of boiling salted water until just tender, about 4 minutes. Drain and cool.
Melt 4 tablespoons butter in heavy large skillet over high heat. Add morels and sauté 3 minutes. Reduce heat to medium; add thyme and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sauté until morels are tender, about 6 minutes. Add remaining 2 tablespoons butter to skillet, then add asparagus; toss to coat. Sauté 2 minutes. Add leeks; sauté 2 minutes. Stir in parsley. Season with salt and pepper.
Sautéed and Sliced Lobster with Asparagus and Morels
Cook the lobsters in water seasoned with salt, dried fennel, and black pepper.
Allow 3 minutes’ cooking time for the tails and 6 for the claws, then shell the latter, making sure to remove all of the cartilage. Reserve the roe and creamy parts inside the lobster for the ragout.
Step 2: Lobster Ragout
Cut each lobster tail in 5 medallions, and devein.
Sauté the medallions shell-side down in a hot pan with the lobster butter. When cooked, set aside and add the coarsely chopped roe taken from the lobsters. Mash with a fork until finely crushed.
Deglaze with a dash of cognac, and reduce a little.
Add the lobster stock and reduce a little. Return the lobster medallions to the pan, and infuse briefly with some truffle juice and the crushed basil leaf. Season with a drizzle of olive oil, a dash of lemon juice, and freshly ground pepper.
This recipe was originally published in "Culinary Encyclopedia by Alain Ducasse" (Éditions Alain Ducasse). See all credits
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How to Make It
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. If using dried morels, put them in a small bowl, cover with 1 cup boiling water, and let stand 10 minutes. Lift out and pat dry.
Meanwhile, generously salt remaining boiling water. Fill a large bowl with ice and cold water and set near the stove. Add asparagus to boiling water and cook until crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Remove from water and immediately plunge into ice bath to stop cooking. Repeat process with green onions. Drain asparagus and onions on paper towels, then cut asparagus spears in half.
In a large frying pan over medium-low heat, melt butter. Add morels, asparagus, and onions and cook 1 minute, tossing gently to coat with butter. Stir in crème fraîche and season with salt and pepper. Continue cooking until heated through, 4 minutes longer. Transfer to a serving dish.
Garden Plate: Savory recipes that celebrate asparagus season
Asparagus! May is right in the middle of what is known in Germany as Spargelfest — literally “Asparagus Festival.” Taking a cue from “across the pond,” this month, we celebrate the return of longer days, warmer weather and luxurious recipes with this delicate vegetable.
This one, two, three, easy-to-assemble appetizer is always a favorite. The prosciutto can be switched out for a favorite cheese to add a vegetarian twist.
Herb Prosciutto Asparagus Bundles. Photo courtesy of Getty Images
HERB PROSCIUTTO ASPARAGUS BUNDLES
1 package puff pastry, thawed in the refrigerator overnight
1 large bunch medium-sized green asparagus, tough ends trimmed
¼ cup chopped fresh herbs (any mixture works well, like chives, parsley, chervil, basil, etc.)
On a large cutting board, lightly roll out chilled dough to just even out folds. (Note: Keep this really cold, popping it back into the fridge, if needed, in between steps.) Return to the refrigerator. Separate asparagus into 8 miniature bunches. Wrap the middle of each asparagus bunch with a slice of prosciutto. Remove pastry from the refrigerator and cut into 8 strips using the short edge of the rectangle as a guide. Wrap each pastry strip around each asparagus strip. Place each bundle on a rimmed baking tray, spacing evenly and apart. Brush each with some of the beaten egg, and sprinkle with fresh herbs. Bake in the center of the oven for 8-10 minutes until golden brown. Serve immediately.
Asparagus and Mushroom Sauté. Photo courtesy of Getty Images
This dish is amazingly simple and fast but decadent at the same time. Serve this along with a salad and crusty bread for a sumptuous lunch or light dinner.
WHITE AND GREEN ASPARAGUS AND MUSHROOM SAUTÉ
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
3 cups fresh or rehydrated morel mushrooms, cut in half
1 sprig fresh, flat parsley leaf
1 bunch white asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces on an angle
1 bunch green asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces on an angle
2 teaspoons truffle oil (white or black)
In a large sauté pan over medium heat, heat olive oil and garlic until fragrant. Add mushrooms, and sauté until just slightly browned on edges. Add herbs and add white asparagus, and sauté about 1 minute. Add green asparagus and sauté for another 3 minutes until slightly crispy and tender. Finish with truffle oil, and season to taste.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images
To trim asparagus, simply hold one stalk up and about one-third of the way up from the bottom snap it to break the stalk with your fingers. The asparagus stalk will naturally break right above the woodiest point. Now use this as a guide to trim the rest of the bunch.
To peel or not to peel? Thin asparagus do not need to be peeled. The thicker the stalk, the more fibrous the outer layer, so it is merely a personal choice for the thicker ones. If you do choose to peel, hold a stalk firmly on a cutting board, positioning it horizontally. Use a vegetable peeler and, right under the tip, take a swipe without applying too much pressure, turn the stalk and continue this process until it has been peeled all the way around.
- 1 1/2 lb. thin asparagus spears, tough ends removed
- 1/4 lb. fresh morel mushrooms
- 4 Tbs. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
- 2 shallots, minced
- 1 Tbs. chopped fresh tarragon
- Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Place the asparagus on a rimmed baking sheet large enough to hold them in a single layer. Brush the morels clean. If there is a lot of grit or other dirt lodged in their honeycomblike surface, you may need to dunk them briefly in cold water to free it then pat dry with paper towels. If the morels are large, cut them crosswise into rings 1/4 inch wide. Leave small ones whole. Add the mushrooms to the baking sheet holding the asparagus.
In a small saucepan over low heat, melt the butter. Add the shallots and sauté for 1 minute to release their flavor. Drizzle the shallot butter evenly over the asparagus and morels. Scatter the tarragon over the top and season with salt and pepper. Using your hands, toss the asparagus and morels in the butter and tarragon until evenly coated, then spread them into a single layer again.
Roast until the asparagus is lightly browned but still crisp and the morels are dark brown, about 10 minutes. Transfer the asparagus and morels to a serving platter and drizzle any pan juices over the top. Serve immediately. Serves 6.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma, Entertaining, Edited by Chuck Williams (Oxmoor House, 2004).
Here we begin to enter the series of morel recipes that artfully bring together diverse flavors and textures:
- Preheat your oven at 325 degrees.
- Soak 10-12 large dried morels in 3/4 cup cream and 1 Tbsp. dry sherry.
- Sauté one large clove of garlic, one large minced shallot, and 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans in 3 Tbsp. real butter.
- Once they have cooked, turn off heat and mix in 4 oz. goat cheese and a little fresh grated nutmeg and white pepper, and stuff the soaked morels.
- Bake at 325 degrees for 20 minutes and serve over fresh penne pasta.
Enjoy this scrumptious delight!
How to Saute Morel Mushrooms
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Morel mushrooms have their own special flavor, described as “nutty” or “earthy.” These mushrooms are a delicacy, have a short growing season and aren’t easy to obtain fresh. Due to these factors, you may prefer to sauté them in just butter and flour so you can enjoy their rare and unique taste, which may be masked by other flavors. If you’d rather prepare them with a sauce, shallots and garlic in a broth base make a tasty companion for morels. Sauteed morel mushrooms are a side dish, so you can pair them with any meal.
Pasta with Morels, Ramps, Asparagus & Goat Cheese
¼ cup diced fresh To-Table Ramps, washed and trimmed, white part only
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
½ cup dry white wine
½ cup chicken stock
½ pound fresh To-Table Morel mushrooms, washed, trimmed, patted dry and sliced crosswise
½ cup heavy cream
6 oz goat cheese, crumbled
¾ pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into ½ inch pieces, then cooked in boiling salted water for two to three minutes
¼ cup minced fresh chives
¾ pound pasta
Cook the ramps in butter over medium low heat in a heavy skillet. When the ramps have softened, add the wine and simmer until the wine reduces by about half.
Add the chicken broth and the mushrooms, then simmer for about ten minutes, or until the mushrooms have become tender.
Add the cream and the goat cheese and cook over low heat, stirring until the cheese melts.
Stir in the cooked asparagus, chives, and the salt and pepper. Keep the sauce warm.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to directions and drain thoroughly.
Toss the pasta with the sauce and serve piping hot.
Chicken Breasts with Ramps, Morels, and White Wine
2 cups To-Table morel mushrooms, cleaned, trimmed, and sliced
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
1/4 cup To-Table Ramps, cleaned, trimmed, and chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup cream
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon dry white wine
1 teaspoon French mustard
2-3 tablespoons sour cream
4 boned chicken breasts
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
4 cups salad greens
Wild Rice with Morels and Ramps
3 cups water
1 ½ cups To-Table wild rice
3 ¼ cups chicken stock
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
3 To-Table Ramps, chopped
2 cups sliced fresh To-Table Morel mushrooms
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
In a large saucepan combine the water and the rice, bringing to a boil over high heat. Cover and remove from heat, allowing it to stand for at least 20 minutes. Drain well and return the rice to the saucepan.
Add about 3 cups of the broth and bring to a boil again over medium-high heat. Stir, cover, and reduce the heat. Simmer gently for about 25 minutes, or until the rice is tender and the liquid has been absorbed.
While the rice is cooking, warm the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the chopped ramps and sauté for about 3 minutes.
Add the sliced morels and sauté for another 3 minutes or so. Add the pepper and the remaining broth. Cover and continue to simmer for about 5 minutes.
Set the mushroom mixture aside until the rice is ready.
Add the rice to the pan and mix well.
Halibut with Morel Sauce
10 To-Table morel mushrooms
7 oz white wine
16 oz chicken stock
1-1/2 cup heavy cream
3 oz butter
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
4 To-Table halibut steaks
salt & freshly ground pepper
2 oz butter
Soak the dried morels in water and rinse in collander .
Heat the oil in a large non-stick pan over a medium heat.
Season the halibut steaks with salt and freshly ground black pepper and add to the pan skin-side down. Cook for 3-4 minutes, or until golden-brown and the fish is nearly cooked through, then turn the halibut steaks over and add the butter.
Reduce the heat and cook for another 1-2 minutes, or until the fish is just cooked through. Set aside on a warm platter.
Place the morels and wine into a pan with the chicken stock and bring to the boil. Cook to reduce the liquid to about 1/2.
Add the heavy cream bring to near boiling point.
Add the butter and stir to combine.
To serve, place a halibut steak onto each plate and spoon over pan juices and the morel cream sauce.
Crab-stuffed Morel Mushrooms
Cut the morels in half lengthwise to expose the hollow center. Prepare a large bowl of salted water by adding 2 Tbsp to a gallon of cold water and immerse the morels for about 40 minutes or up to 1 hour. Unlike many other mushrooms, morels do not readily soak up water. Wild morels come straight from the forest and their honeycomb structure can harbor grit and forest debris – not to mention the occasional creepy-crawly. The salted water is just the thing to convince any hitch hikers to move on.
Drain the morels, then rinse gently with cold water to flush away any remaining grit. Drain the morels again and lay them out on a tray lined with paper towels.
In a large bowl, combine the crabmeat, sliced celery, diced onion, bread crumbs, parmesan cheese and thyme. Using a microplane grater or zester, finely grate the peel of one lemon and add it to the mixture. Personally, I prefer a microplane. The sharp little blades don’t dig deeply into the lemon rind, so you get just the aromatic peel – not the pithy white.
Beat the egg with the water and stir into the crabmeat mixture. Add the hot sauce, and salt and pepper to taste. The crabment mixture should be just moist enough to cling together when gently pressed into a spoon. If the mixture seems to dry, add a Tbsp or two of Madeira to moisten.
Brush the bottom of each morel half with a little of the melted butter and lay them out on a baking sheet. Scoop up a spoonful of the crabmeat mixture and press it firmly into the cavity of a morel half, mounding it up above the surface of the mushroom. Repeat with the remaining sliced morels until all have been filled and are laid out, slightly separated, on the baking sheet.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake the crab-filled morel halves for about 20 minutes or until the tops are golden brown and the mushrooms are cooked through and tender.
Devour immediately. Try not to burn your mouth.
Grilled Veal Chops with Morel Sauce
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp aged Balsamic vinegar plus additional to taste if desired
3 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 pound To-Table Morel mushrooms, trimmed, washed, and patted dry
1/3 cup shallots, chopped fine
2 cups red wine
2 cups rich veal demi-glace
fresh lemon juice to taste
In a small saucepan, boil the water and sugar. Don't stir! When the liquid turns a golden caramel color remove from the heat and add the red wine vinegar and 1 tablespoon of the balsamic vinegar by trickling it down the side of the pan. This will cause the mixture to kick up some bubbles and steam. Continue stirring for about 3 minutes, or until the caramel is dissolved. Remove from heat.
In a heavy saucepan over moderate heat, cook the morels in the butter. Continue to cook and stir until the liquid from the morels is evaporated. This should take about 5 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the mushrooms to a bowl. Set aside.
Add the shallots to the mushroom pan and cook, stirring, until golden. Stir in the wine and boil until it's reduced to about 1 cup. This will take about 15 minutes. Add the veal stock and cook until it reduces to about 1 1/4 cups, which should take another 15 minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the "caramel" mixture. Add the morels with salt and pepper to taste.
Stir in additional balsamic and lemon juice, if desired, just 1 teaspoon at a time.
6 To-Table veal chops, cut from hotel rack about 1 1/2 inch thick, at room temperature
extra virgin olive oil oil for rubbing on chops
Prepare the grill and preheat the oven to 425 F.
Rub the chops with the olive oil, then season with salt and pepper. Place the grilling rack about 5 or 6 inches from glowing coals, then grill the chops until evenly browned. This should take no more than 3 to 4 minutes on each side.
Arrange the browned chops in a shallow baking pan and roast in the oven for about 15 minutes. The meat should be juicy and with a touch of pink.
Morel and Fiddlehead Fern Ragout
1 1/2 pounds fresh To-Table Fiddleheads, cleaned and trimmed
2 minced shallots
4 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1/2 pound fresh To-Table Morel mushrooms, trimmed and rinsed
2 cloves minced garlic
3/4 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 Tbsp shopped chives
1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
Parmesan curls, for a garnish
Bring 1 1/2 quarts of salted water to a boil and add the fiddlehead ferns. Return the water to a boil. Use a slotted spoon to remove the fiddleheads and dunk them in an ice bath. Drain and pat them dry.
In a medium sized skillet sauté the shallots in butter until softened. Add the fresh thyme, the morels, and the garlic. Continue to sauté until the mushrooms have softened and given up their liquid. This should take roughly three minutes. Continue cooking until most of the liquid has evaporated.
Add the chicken stock and cook until it's reduced by about half.
Add the fiddleheads and cook for about two minutes.
Add the cream, the chives, and the parsley. Season with salt and pepper.
Serve hot, garnished with the Parmesan curls.
Fettuccine with Morels and Breast of Pheasant
This is a truly memorable Celebration of Spring - perfect for a special occasion, and not intricate. Get those pheasant out of the freezer or your friends' freezers. (We will have them available this fall).
Pheasant is a very fine-grained and lean poultry with a mild flavor that goes exceptionally well with the other wild ingredients. If you can't find pheasant, substitute chicken.
Morel Cream Sauce18-25 fresh To-Table Morel mushrooms, depending on size1 tablespoon butter2 tablespoons chopped fresh To-Table Ramps1 ¾ cup heavy creamSea salt & freshly ground white pepper to tastenutmeg to taste
24 fresh To-Table Fiddlehead ferns
2 tablespoons butter
2 boned, skinned, and halved pheasant breasts from birds approximately 3 pounds each
Sea salt & freshly ground white pepper
2 tablespoons butter
Clean the morels thoroughly. Pat them dry and halve them lengthwise, then cut into small pieces.
Melt the butter in a skillet, adding the morels and ramps. Stir gently but continuously as they cook. When they begin to soften, add the cream.
Simmer, stirring often, until the sauce begins to thicken. This should take roughly 15 minutes. Season with salt, white pepper, and nutmeg to taste.
Drop the Fiddlehead Ferns into boiling salted water, cooking until they're tender, but not soggy, about 5 minutes. Drain well and toss in butter.
About ½ hour before serving time, sprinkle the pheasant with salt and pepper.
Heat the butter in a large, heavy skillet. When the butter begins to foam, add the pheasant breasts and brown lightly, about 5 minutes.
Turn and cook the pheasant over moderately low heat until they are barely cooked in the center.
Cooking them any longer will cause them to toughen and dry. Remove them from the skillet and allow them to sit for five minutes.
Cook enough fettuccine pasta to serve four people.
Toss the hot pasta with ¾ of the sauce.
Slice the pheasant breasts into 6 vertical slices and "fan" them over the pasta.
Top with the remaining sauce and surround with the fiddleheads.
Morel and Asparagus Sauté D'Aoust
1/4 pound fresh morel mushrooms
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
2 tablespoons minced shallot
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Morels In Cream On Brioche (Morilles A La Creme)
1 lb fresh morels, trimmed, washed well, and patted dry
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
Freshly ground white pepper
5 thin slices brioche or challah bread, crusts discarded, each slice cut into 4 triangles and toasted
In a heavy saucepan, bring the stock to a slow, steady simmer over moderate heat. Lower the heat and maintain the simmer.
Cut the asparagus tips to 1-inch and set aside. Cut the remaining asparagus into 1/2-inch pieces.
Trim the stems from the morels and reserve them for another use (in stocks or soups). Brush any debris from the morels and, if they are very large, cut them in half.
Heat the oil and butter in a heavy-bottomed, broad, medium saucepan over moderately-high heat. Stir in the onions and sauté for about 5 minutes, or until translucent. Add the asparagus stalks and the morels and sauté for about 1 minute, or until they are well-coated with the fat. Add the rice and sauté for a few minutes to thoroughly coat the grains with the fat.
Add 1 cup of the simmering stock and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until all of the liquid has been absorbed by the rice, about 5 minutes. As each addition is absorbed, continue stirring and adding stock, 1/2 cup at a time, until the rice is tender but still al dente. You should begin tasting the rice after it has cooked for about 20 minutes. Just before the rice is ready, stir in the reserved asparagus tips, 1/2 cup of the cheese and the parsley. Season with salt and pepper.