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Voracious this year is celebrating our local farmers markets with a series of poems extolling what's newly ripe and ready for sale . Each week

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Producing Poetry: The Return of Morels

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Voracious this year is celebrating our local farmers markets with a series of poems extolling what's newly ripe and ready for sale. Each week during market season, we'll run a poem from a local poet who's found inspiration in the region's bounty. And should you find yourself feeling similarly inspired after reading their odes to romaine lettuce, nectarines, pea vines and gooseberries, the Neighborhood Farmers Market Alliance has provided us with recipes featuring each of the edible muses.

Wild morels, which may make their first market appearance this weekend, are popular with ranch hands who get a chance to poke around the woods in springtime. The intensely flavorful mushrooms can be sauteed with a steak or deep-fried and served by their lonesome, as in the following recipe. "Cowboys like mushrooms," says Clark Crouch, who identifies himself as a "poet lariat."

Crouch, who lives in Woodinville, has published eight books of cowboy poetry. Here, his take on forest fungi:

Fungi

by Clark Crouch

These woodlands know the step

of those who've gone before,

the natives of this place

who've shared their tribal lore.

We now walk where they walked

to harvest mushrooms there,

treading on the greensward

for our new bill-of-fare.

Where here in forest shade,

the mushrooms hide away

waiting for the hunter

to come along this way.

It's here the fungus grows

beneath primeval trees,

white caps tipped in greeting

with scent on gentle breeze.

Their names we scarce pronounce,

long Latin-sounding things,

but offering themselves,

as food which nature brings.

We harvest now the fruits,

the fungi of these lands,

to grace our daily meals,

to satisfy gourmands.

Ambrosia, food of Gods,

with clean and earthy scent

as flavors kiss the tongue

in moments of content.

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Deep-Fried Morels

from Cooks.com

Content Copyright © 2012 Cooks.com - All rights reserved.

Fresh Morel mushrooms

Egg wash (2 eggs beaten with 1/4 c. milk)

Crumb mix (1 c. crackers, 1/2 c. corn flake crumbs)

Vegetable oil for frying

Salt

Split morel mushrooms lengthwise. Rinse in several changes of cold water, drain. While heating oil to 370-375 degrees, dip morels into egg wash, roll in crumbs. Cook morels 4-5 minutes, stirring and turning while cooking. When golden brown and floating, remove to rack to drain. Salt to taste. Place on paper towels.

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