Morels and Asparagus Over Pasta

For the longest time, I didn’t get what the big deal with morels were.  Will would ooh and aah every time fresh morels appeared in a springtime menu.  He would get ecstatic when the Mushroom Man at the farmer’s market got them in. At $30-40 a pound, I just didn’t get what was so great with them.

It wasn’t until the last time Will made morels in a simple dish with just scrambled eggs that it finally clicked. They were earthy, savory, had a weirdly spongey and crunchy texture, and they were good. I can’t believe an umami fiend like me took so long to finally enjoy morels.

Today, I made a special trip to the Santa Monica farmers’ market just to seek out morels.  Luckily, the Mushroom Man had plenty of them and I ended up with half a paper bag full of them.  The Chinese in me cringes at paying $10 for half a small paper bag of mushrooms. But man, they were worth it.

morels and asparagus pasta Morel and asparagus pasta with a Rancho Sisquoc ’95 Cab S.

I sauteed them up with some shallots, fresh asparagus, and a cashew cream sauce I made and they were wonderful on top of pasta.  I had bought a lemon to squeeze into the sauce when I finished so that the acidity could balance out the earthy, rich, savory taste of the sauce, but I forgot completely about it because I couldn’t wait to taste the dish. It was everything I dreamed it would be.

Yes, I am officially on the morel bandwagon now.

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