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:
Crumb mix (1 c. crackers, 1/2 c. corn flake crumbs)
Vegetable oil for frying
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.