Before I tell you how to make this decadent appetizer, I have to tell you a story. I can’t stand onions. I don’t hate them as much as cilantro or bell peppers, but I’m not a fan. I typically replace them with shallots whenever possible because they’re milder and sweeter. So I buy a lot of shallots and I go through them quickly. On my latest trip to the big, crazy grocery store far away, I went to the spot where they regularly keep shallots and found morel mushrooms in their place. Because it’s morel mushroom season! Shroomers are going nuts right now but I wasn’t in the market for morels and I was let down about the shallots. I looked all over and finally asked a sweet produce lady where I could find them. She searched around and finally went to the back room to ask. When she returned she told me they were out of stock since they had to make room for the morels. I must have looked really disappointed because she told me that if I wanted, she could give me half off of the morels. What?! Half-off morels? They are, in all the seriousness I can muster, $49.99 per pound. I didn’t want to look like I was taking advantage of her unnecessary and unrequested discount so I only bought a few. But honestly, discounted fresh morels are a big deal and I had never even had them (did you read the part where they are $49.99/pound?) so I looked for a recipe that would feature them and celebrate their expensive awesomeness.
I came across a recipe on epicurious (<3 everything epicurious) for Morels in Cream on Brioche. I didn’t have brioche or intend on making some since I already had some pane bello for the mussels I was making for dinner. I figured pane bello would work just as well and it did.
This recipe is simple and scrumptious. Adapted from Epicurious:
4 medium morel mushrooms
3/4 C heavy cream
1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp white truffle oil (if you don’t have this, use truffle salt or omit entirely)
1 Tbsp flour
sprinkle ground pepper
2 slices thick bread, toasted
1/2 C grated gruyère cheese
Heat up the cream in a small saucepan or a cup in the microwave until just warmed through. Meanwhile heat the butter in a separate saucepan. Add the butter and whisk to combine. Chop the morels into pea-size pieces (a rough chop is fine) and after a minute or so, add them to the saucepan. After they have sautéed for a few minutes, add the warm cream and continue whisking. Let the mixture cook on very low heat for 15 minutes and stir occasionally. Meanwhile, toast the bread. When they are nearly done toasting, add the grated gruyère so that it melts. You can do this in the oven or a toaster oven. When the mushroom sauce is done, turn the heat off and add the truffle oil (if not using truffle oil, add the truffle salt after the mixture is on the toasts) and spoon the mixture onto the toasts.
Oh my goodness. This is so delicious. I think, though I’m not an expert on morels, that this is a great way to feature them and appreciate them. You really taste the nutty flavor and the gruyère compliments the whole experience. I almost omitted the cheese entirely for fear it would overpower the taste of the mushrooms, but it really worked. If you mushroom lovers can spare a few dollars on these, it only takes a few to make this dish and it’s completely worth it.