Our Iowa farm was near a large wooded area known as Ferguson’s Timber. This timber was my Mother’s favorite place to hunt those fabulous, spring Morel Mushrooms. She would go to the timber every day she could to hunt and gather the mushrooms to cook, freeze and share with friends and family. My Mother had a keen eye for Morels and taught my sister, brother and I that Morels look like a sponge and are easy to distinguish from other mushrooms; however, she was quick to show us the poisonous ‘false morel’.
Morels are found throughout the midwest and in parts of eastern Europe. My ancestors, in Bohemia (now the Czech Republic) would have gathered these mushrooms in the old country and were probably thrilled to learn that they also grew in their new home, Iowa.
There were two primary recipes my Mother served for these small gifts from heaven:
- Fried Morels: After washing and trimming the mushrooms, Mother would cut the mushrooms in half, dredge in flour and brown them in butter, adding salt and pepper. The result was a wonderful browned, crispy, savory Morel.
- Scrambled Eggs with Morels: After washing and trimming the mushrooms, Mother would brown the chopped mushrooms in butter until soft then pour beaten eggs, seasoned with salt and pepper, over the mushrooms and cook until hard. The mushrooms add an earthy, wonderful flavor to ordinary scrambled eggs.
Unfortunately, Colorado is not a natural source for Morels and I have been craving Morels since my Mother became ill in the mid-1990s. She would lovingly gather and freeze Morels to cook when I would come home to visit. I was delighted to find dried Morels in our local Savory Spice Shop, www.savoryspiceshop.com.
I have saved these earthy morsels for my spring craving. Mother’s Day is approaching and it’s time to honor my Mother and this spring family ritual. Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!
The following recipe is adapted my Mother’s recipe using olive oil instead of butter and adding a pinch of Herbs de Provence. More Morels, please!
SCRAMBLED EGGS WITH MOREL MUSHROOMS
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2-1 ounce dried Morels, reconstitute per directions (or 1-2 cups fresh Morels), chopped
4 beaten eggs
1 teaspoon water
salt & pepper to taste
pinch of Herbs de Provence
Heat olive oil in a non-stick pan. Add chopped morels and brown for 5 minutes or until cooked through/soft.
Whisk eggs with 1 teaspoon water. Add salt, pepper and herbs. Add eggs to mushrooms and cook until eggs are cooked to your liking.