If you’re lucky enough to find some fresh morels during their limited season in late April or early May, the only way to eat them is fried, says Terry Lingo, the innkeeper/owner at the Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls in Logan, which is southeast of Columbus. “That’s what I grew up on,” he says. “It’s a simple recipe.”
Unlike the earthy taste of many mushrooms, morels have a nutty, buttery flavor, which tastes more like pine nuts or cashews. Breaded and fried morels are best eaten when warm so they melt in your mouth. You can also get a true taste of an Appalachian tradition by layering them between two pieces of butter-slathered white bread.
- Any quantity of foraged morels
- 2 quarts cold water
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup plain breadcrumbs
- 1 cup vegetable or peanut oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
Take whatever amount of morels you found. In a large bowl, mix one tablespoon of salt for every two quarts of cold water. Rinse the mushrooms with water, and remove any dirt. If there are large mushrooms, cut in half or leave whole depending on your size preference. Place them in salt water for 30 minutes. They will float to the top, so put a small plate on them to hold them down.
After 30 minutes, rinse with fresh water. Lay on paper towel to remove excess water. Beat two eggs or more depending on how many mushrooms. Put about 1 cup of plain bread crumbs on a plate. Drag each mushroom in egg mixture. Pour about 1 cup of vegetable oil in a skillet and heat until hot. Add each mushroom into skillet. Fry until golden brown on both sides. Place on paper towels to drain excess oil. Salt and pepper to taste.