This simple, yet delicious recipe makes use of a delicious and uncommon springtime mushroom. Try adding fried morel mushrooms to a salad or using them as a topping on grilled steak.
April is one of my favorite months. The weather is turning warmer and we’re headed back out into the woods for a new year of foraging for wild edibles, kicked off with hunting for the elusive Morel Mushrooms.
On one of our first dates (way back in 2000), Ray took me Mushroom Picking. Although my parents didn’t forage, my grandparents did. We joke that the outdoorsy-bug skipped a generation, skipping my parents aiming for me instead.
It’s hard to believe it’s been 17 years that Ray and I have been picking Morel Mushrooms. I fell in love with Ray, Morels and Foraging, almost immediately. I can’t imagine a better way to spend my free time.
Where to find Morel Mushrooms
Here in Pennsylvania (and other mid-altalntic states) Morel Mushrooms pop up in the spring mostly under poplar, sycamore, elm and apple trees. They come black, gray and tan varieties.
They are generally safe beginner mushroom, their only look alike is the false morel that is not hollow in the center and has a more abstract shape.
There are 2 basic ways that I recommend starting out enjoying Morel Mushrooms:
- Sautéed in butter. Duh. Everything is better with butter, especially mushrooms.
- This Fried Morel Mushroom Recipe 🙂
There’s no recipe needed for sautéed in butter and generally I’d say that breaded mushrooms are pretty straight forward too – except there’s a wide variety of breading options and I have truly found the best.
Ok, I’m totally lying to you.
Please accept my apology.
I didn’t figure this out, Ray actually did. But I’m totally taking credit for it. So, SHHHH, don’t tell him.
Tips for Cleaning Morel Mushrooms
When it comes to cleaning fresh morels there’s generally some controversy between mushroom hunter, but that’s pretty standard with cleaning all wild picked mushrooms.. to soak or not to soak?
My rule of thumb is to avoid soaking mushrooms IF POSSIBLE, the quality and cleanliness of the mushrooms will determine how much cleaning or soaking that is required.
The issue with soaking morels in water or salted water is that although YES it can help to release excess dirt and bugs, it can also negatively effect the quality and taste of the mushrooms. Morels growing in sandy soil that you pick right after a rain, will certainly be dirty and a quick bath in cold water is required. And adding salt to the water you clean any mushrooms in can definitely help to extract any creepy crawly bugs that are hiding in the creases of the mushrooms.
I also let the quality of the morel mushrooms determine how I trim them. Young, clean morels I just slice off the tip of the stem where as larger, older morels I will cut them in half lengthwise or even chop to use in another morel mushroom recipe instead of breading them.
No matter how much you clean or soak you mushrooms, it’s always important to dry them as well as possible following cleaning. I ALWAYS give my cleaned mushrooms a final dry in my salad spinner to not only dry but also to help get any debris.
The Perfect Breading for Fried Morel Mushrooms
I didn’t specifically intend for this to be a gluten-free recipe, but luckily it is! Ray has tried every flour mixture (all purpose flour and gluten-free), cracker crumbs, cornmeal, batter and breadcrumbs — Egg wash and Seasoned White Rice Flour is the clear winner for the Best Fried Morel Mushrooms.
It’s light with just a hint of texture. And doesn’t overpower the mushrooms deliciousness.
Choosing the Healthiest Fats for Frying
And even when you think that you may have the perfect breading, it can easily be ruined by the fat you are using to fry in. My preference is lard from naturally raised hogs, but tallow from grass fed beef or palm oil are healthy options too. Never use soy, corn, canola, or vegetable oils. To learn more about the healthiest fat choices CLICK HERE.
Fool Proof Frying
Then there’s just one more thing to factor in and that’s HOW you are frying. I’ve been there, done that. And while I hate having one more appliance in my kitchen, you simply cannot beat THIS EASY CLEAN fryer.
** this is NOT a sponsored post, this is simply my own personal opinion **
Not only does it safely control the temperature of your fat and virtually eliminate oil splatter messes, it also has an automatic filtering drain!
No more fussing with dirty oil. No big messes! Frying just got even more enjoyable. I dare say, Fool Proof Frying is possible.
Working in small batches, dip your cleaned morels into the egg wash then lightly toss in a large bowl seasoned white rice flour. Use a fork to transfer them to your deep fryer and let them get a nice golden brown color.
If you do choose to pan-fry foods on your stove top in a deep, heavy skillet or Dutch Oven or large skillet over medium-high heat, PLEASE carefully monitor your fats temperature. Never exceed 340 degrees or you will risk damaging the healthfulness of the fats.
I love to give my Breaded Morel Mushrooms a sprinkle of kosher salt and nice squeeze of lemon juice right before eating, it really brightens up the flavors. But they are also delicious dipped in my Ramp Ranch Dressing for a real spring treat!
IF you like this Morel Mushroom Recipe, try these next:
- Pork Chops with Morel Ramp Cream Sauce
- Morel Mushroom, Ramp & Potato Chowder Recipe
- Morel Asparagus Gruyere Quiche Recipe
- Creamy Morel Mushroom Barley Soup
- Morel Mushroom and Ramp Chowder
- Chicken with Creamy Morel Mushroom Sauce
- Crispy Chicken Thighs with Morel, Ramp & Kale Cream Sauce
Fried Morel Mushroom Recipe
- Fresh Morel Mushrooms, cleaned
- Lard or palm oil or other healthy fat for frying
- Combine White Rice Flour and seasoned salt.
- Dip each cleaned & halved mushroom in beaten egg then in the breading mix.
- Arrange breaded mushrooms in a single layer on a plate or tray. Place in the freezer for a minimum 30 minutes* prior to frying.
- Preheat Lard to 340 degrees, while mushrooms are chilling. Line a plate with paper towel.
- Take mushrooms straight from the freezer and place in the preheated oil. Fry for roughly 2 minutes or until lightly brown.
- Drain breaded mushrooms on a paper plate lined with a paper towel and season with sea salt. Enjoy while still warm.