Back when we talked for hours and hours, gazing into one another’s eyes and telling each other our life stories and hopes, Tate told me about his love for his family’s farm in central Missouri. He spoke of an almost magical place, filled with wildlife and the hunting tales of generations of men. “When I retire, that’s where I want to live,” he framed with his hands around the land and it’s views.
The farm is lovely, I agree. When you’re there, you can see the stars at night. It’s quiet, except for the distant lowing from cattle on nearby farms. I’m not so sure about retiring there, in a place where fried chicken and ice cream are the finest dining available, and a trip to the Dollar General is a big day out.
After the second spring that Tate and I were together, he introduced me to one of the farm’s greatest treasures, so great that I could maybe consider the possibility of the farm as our retirement destination. Fried in butter to a golden brown, he gave me a taste of my first morel mushroom. Tate and uncountable generations before had enjoyed this delicacy, but I had no idea what I’d been missing.
While we were home last week, Tate and his dad found 55 morels in their super secret mythical morel breeding ground. So for Easter dinner, with steaks on the grill and asparagus roasting in the oven, I was put on morel frying duty.
An initiation ritual, of sorts.
With complete faith in my abilities, my mother in law told me exactly what to do, how to turn them, when to season them. She retreated to babysit the steaks and I was left with Kate, Tate’s sister, to fry the morels.
I felt a lot of pressure to get it right, to not burn or ruin the morels. Everyone was counting on me. I’m not going to lie, mine weren’t perfect. My mother in law does a better job. Tate does a better job. My attempt, for a newbie, was adequate. The morels were delicious, but slightly soggy and not as crispy as I would have liked.
That isn’t going to stop me from from sharing the recipe. (Recipe might not be the right word, that would require me to give accurate measurements. Maybe this is a method?)
You’ve Died and Gone to Heaven Fried Morels
First of all, you need to find the mushrooms. Good luck with that.
Once you have your haul, carefully rinse under cold water. Dry the morels on a paper towel. Slice the morels in half lengthwise. Store in the refrigerator wrapped in a dry paper towel and plastic bag until ready to use.
Heat an electric skillet to 350 degrees and melt butter. A lot of butter. Half a stick?
In one bowl, beat several eggs and add a little water to decrease the consistency. Place a cup or so of flour in a second bowl. Carefully dip the morels in the egg mixture, then in the flour, shaking off excess. Place the morels, in batches, in the melted butter and season with salt and pepper. Turn once the morels are lightly golden brown, seasoning the other side. Remove the morels from the butter and place on paper towels to drain. Add more butter to the pan as needed as you cook each batch.
Your life will improve, simply by eating these. True story.