So we’ve lived in Nebraska for 3 years & not only is this the first year I’ve heard about morel mushrooms, it’s the first year I’ve even seen them!
This past Sunday, our clan trekked to the farmer’s market, canvas bags empty, cash ready to get all our starter plants, herbs & load up on all the early spring produce. We’ve learned that early spring in Nebraska means greens (all the greens!), rhubarb, radishes, asparagus, leeks & green onions, among a few other things. No, early spring isn’t as sexy as summer with it’s long slender beans, plump tomatoes & rotund squash but it’s charming in it’s own way. It gives us something to appreciate & something to look forward to.
Last week, for the first time, I heard some gals talking about morel mushrooms. Admittedly, I’d never seen one & really only heard about them in passing. I’ve since learned they are quite the hot commodity around here (& maybe in your area too??) so when we walked past not one but two stalls on Sunday, both carrying morels I knew I had to drop the cash to get them.
See, because they are so popular & as the market vendor told me, only available about 5 weeks out of the year, they pack a steep price tag. Close to $50 a pound to be exact. He went on to tell me he even has secret locations where he picks them! I was intrigued & had a twenty burning a hole in my pocket so I figured why not. I couldn’t possibly walk away from something this prized!
I wasn’t quite sure how to prep them since typical mushrooms you don’t want to soak in water or they get all squidgy. My Instagram family was quick to tell me these mushrooms were much different & I should actually soak them in water, so that’s what we did. Sliced in half, a 15 minute water + salt bath & then a quick rinse. They were ready for the frying pan. This recipe was so dead simple too. It’s ready in less than 10 minutes! Remember, if you’re using both pancetta & parmesan you really don’t need to salt this dish as both of those ingredients are pretty salty!
Because of the hefty price tag of your mushrooms, I’m assuming like me, you’ll only buy 1/4 to half a pound. So while this recipe isn’t huge, it is tasty.
How to cook asparagus and morel mushrooms with pancetta
- PREP TIME: 15 mins
- COOK TIME: 7 mins
- TOTAL TIME: 22 mins
- AUTHOR: Trisha
- SERVES: 2 servings
- 2 oz Pancetta, chopped
- Half a bunch of Asparagus, washed & cut
- ¼ lb Morel Mushrooms, sliced & cleaned
- 2 Tablespoons Butter
- Optional Parmesan Cheese for sprinkling on top
- Slice morels in half & soak in salted water for 10-15 minutes. Drain.
- Wash & chop asparagus.
- Fry chopped pancetta over medium heat until crispy. Remove from pan & set aside. There will be a bit of pancetta grease remaining.
- In the skillet, place 2 tablespoons of butter & let melt.
- Quickly add the asparagus & morels.
- Let the mixture simmer for 5 minutes.
- Remove from heat & place in a dish.
- Top with parmesan cheese if you prefer!
- Serve hot!