Mushrooms are the perfect centerpiece of Meatless Monday meals — particularly the meaty and flavorful fresh mushrooms now available at local farmers markets. And did you know that mushrooms are the only vegetable that provides Vitamin D? They also contain potassium, antioxidants and even protein. Morels, available locally for a very limited period in the spring, have an intense earthy flavor that is every bit as satisfying as a juicy steak — and that’s a good thing, as morels are about as pricey as a steak. Here in the DC area, they go for $20 a pint at the Mushroom Stand (Penn Quarter, Dupont Circle, Arlington farmers markets). I won’t depress my neighbors by mentioning how much I paid for them in Oregon. Regardless, they are worth the once- or twice-a-year splurge and make for an easy weeknight meal as they benefit from a very simple preparation with nothing more than butter, sea salt and a splash of wine. We enjoyed this with a salad of fresh herbs and Loudoun lettuce mix and a sourdough bread from the Penn Quarter farmers market.
To prep the morels, I swish them gently in a bowl of cold water before cutting them in half, length-wise, and rinsing gently under running water to remove any dirt or insects that may be hidden inside. Pat them dry and place on paper towels to air dry the rest of the way before cooking — cooking wet mushrooms can cause slimy or mushy results.
So far my son is about 50/50 on whether he’s in the mood to eat mushrooms, but an extra dose of grated cheese helps smooth the way. You can also make this with whatever kind of mushroom you have on hand when morels aren’t available — honey mushrooms are another favorite of ours.
Recipe: Egg Noodles with Morels
- 1 pint morels, cleaned and halved (see above)
- 8 ounces wide egg noodles
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- sea salt
- 1 tablespoon parsley, finely chopped
- grated parmesan cheese, optional
Instructions: Cook egg noodles according to package instructions. While the noodles cook, melt one tablespoon of the butter in a large heavy skillet over medium high heat. Cook the morels in a single layer until edges begin to brown, about 8-10 minutes. Turn them only once while cooking. When browned, sprinkle with a generous pinch of sea salt, add remaining three tablespoons of butter and the wine and let cook a minute more. Remove from heat. Drain egg noodles and toss with the parsley. Gently fold in the morels and sauce. Garnish with parmesan cheese, if desired, and enjoy! Makes 4 servings.
The FoodieTots family participates in Meatless Mondays, cutting out meat one day a week for our health and for the environment. (When we do eat meat, we choose local and grassfed whenever possible.) Visit the Meatless Monday pledge page to learn more and sign up for weekly tips and recipes you can use to go meatless, too!