Spring. We have so many things to love about it. Besides the fact that the blizzards stop for a while.
Outside we have blossoms everywhere. Warmer weather means that hens lay more frequently, and thus egg dishes populate springtime menus. On the table we have asparagus. And we have morel mushrooms.
For three springs I’ve kept my eyes peeled for morels in the backyard at Pinecone Meadow Farm. They’re delightful little morsels that can’t be cultivated, which is why you won’t see them in the grocery store and why they claim a dear penny at the farmers market.
In my area of southwest Michigan, neighbors talk about mushroom hunting in their woods, and have suggested that I should be able to find a few under the giant spruce in my back yard, the one that kids used to climb for a view of Lake Michigan a few miles away. (At least that’s what the guy at the paint store told me — he grew up knowing the family that lived there years ago.)
But for three years, nothing.
And then, one morning early this week, there it was. Right next to the French doors amidst the fallen crabapple petals and creeping myrtle. My first ever morel mushroom. A big fat white one.
After photographing it for posterity, I searched the rest of the three-and-a-half acres. Nothing.
Not to be put off, I picked my mushroom, swished it in a little glass of water to get any undesirables out of the crevaces, and chopped it up. Moments later it was my breakfast with some luscious farm eggs from Songbird Acres.
Scrambled eggs with morels
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon minced onion
1 chubby morel mushroom, coarsely chopped
1 egg (or two if you like)
1 tablespoon heavy cream or milk
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat a skillet over medium heat. Add butter and oil and swirl the pan until the butter melts. Add the onion and morel and gently saute until the onion becomes translucent. Meanwhile, break the egg(s) into a small bowl and stir vigorously with the cream until thoroughly blended, but don’t be so vigorous as to beat in a lot of air — you don’t want bubbles. Pour over the onions and mushroom and let sit for a minute or two. Patience is key. Season with salt and pepper. Gently fold the eggs into the middle, giving the skillet a good shake or two to move the uncooked egg onto the pan’s surface. Keep folding until they reach your desired consistency. I like mine on the damp side, although I understand that others want them fully cooked. You decide.