Morels are one of those ingredients that are a harbinger of spring for me. I first found morels at the farmer’s market three years ago. I’d heard about them, certainly, prior to that – morel recipes would often pop up in my Pinterest feed. But morels are not something the grocery stores in the areas I’ve lived carry and the first several years I went to the farmer’s market and encountered morels, I wasn’t quite brave enough to figure out what to do with them.
My first morel experience was daunting. There’s much conflicting information regarding how, exactly, to treat morels – to soak or not to soak, to wash or not to wash, and so on. What’s consistent is that morels need to be well cooked, otherwise they can be toxic. What’s also consistent is that morels are products of the wild – and such, they often come with bits of forest still attached to them: a pine needle here and there, an itty bitty white worm or two. What I’ve landed on is this: a few hours in salty water doesn’t seem to hurt them and seems to reduce the number of itty bitty white worms that wriggle their way out in the frying pan. Also, white worms are just protein – and morels are tasty enough not to worry about it too much. My favorite preparation of morels is sautéed in a lot of butter and served on a burger with bacon. Since I didn’t have time for burger or bacon this weekend, I think that a quiche with morels and asparagus will do.
Morel and Asparagus Quiche
¼ pound morel mushrooms, soaked for 2 – 3 hours in salt water, then chopped
2 cups chopped (2 inch or so pieces) asparagus
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup milk
½ cup shredded cheese (I used a combination of parmesan and mozzarella)
1 teaspoon salt
A few grinds of fresh pepper
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
Melt the butter in a non-stick pan. Add morels and sauté until they are soft. Add water as needed if they start to stick. When morels are soft, add the asparagus and sauté for another five minutes or until the asparagus has softened.
While the morels and asparagus cook, measure out the milk in a bowl or large measuring cup. Add the eggs and beat until smooth. Add the cheese, salt, and pepper and combine.
Put the morels and asparagus in a well-oiled baking pan (a glass 8×8 dish works well). Pour the egg, milk and cheese over the vegetables.
Bake the quiche for 35-40 minutes or until set. A knife inserted in the middle will come out clean when it is set.
This freezes well, so makes a good lunch meal.