A documentation of my preservation and preparation of local foods as I work through the seasons. This will serve as a reference tool for me in the future and as a sharing guide for family and friends...and anyone else interested. Hopefully, I can offer some useful methods, tips and recipes to share with everyone--be they novice or pro--and encourage them to join me in the exciting world of preserving and cooking with local foods.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Morels and Fiddleheads--Mushroom Soup!

Dave and I went morel hunting and got 12 medium-large mushrooms.  We also picked some fiddlehead ferns.  I Made mushroom soup for supper.  It was delicious; and a fiddlehead salad on the side made for a perfect Spring meal after a day of foraging.
Cream of Mushroom Soup  (fills two soup bowls)                                                
¼ cup butter
¼ cup flour
2 TB diced onion                                                           
1 TB diced celery
12 large morels, 
or 2 cups any variety mushrooms,cut up 
  (rehydrate 1+ c dried mushrooms in 1 cup boiling red wine)
pinch of dill weed
1 cup chicken broth with 1 tsp chicken boullion
2 cups Half and Half
splash of red wine (optional but good)
dash or pepper
--Saute onions, celery and mushrooms in butter; add flour and cook a little until the flour starts starts to brown.  Stir in chicken broth until smooth and thickened.  Add Half and Half (any combo of milk and cream) and splash of wine (if desired).  Heat through.

Fiddlehead Fern Salad  
(They are best eaten the day picked; they lose flavor & quality after a day)
Bunch of fiddlehead ferns, snapped off a few inches below curled head
Garlic clove
Olive oil
Pinch of Thyme
Balsamic vinegar or vinegarette
Little honey (or sugar) if desired

Remove any brown-paper-like covering from fiddlehead.  Rinse well, drain, pat dry. Slice garlic clove in half and rub entire bottom of medium fry pan.  Coat pan bottom with olive oil.  Toss in small hunk of butter and thyme.  Heat until butter melted and bubbles appear around edges of pan.  Add ferns in single layer and cook until starting to soften.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Remove from heat and add splash of balsamic vinegar or vinegarette.  I sometimes add a few drips of honey to the vinegar to mellow it out.  Toss to coat ferns.

Fiddlehead’s flavor resembles asparagus with a little nutty flavor.  Their season coincides with morel mushrooms.  Use a guide if you are unsure what they look like as other ferns are not edible.  Best part of fiddleheads—they are free (and up to $6/pound elsewhere)!

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