Now that it’s over it’s safe to say that this was not the best of morel years in the mid Hudson Valley. Early fruitings were poor, late ones abundant but caught by the rain. Dedicated (i.e. constant) hunters did ok, but we were able to go out only 8 or 10 times and thus ended up with only a few meal’s worth and nothing to put by. Over and over we either found nothing or found the ultimate frustration: carpets of riches too old and rain-ruined to be worth gathering. Fortunately, Bill the determined never quits and on his final trip of the season came home with about 7 pounds of gigantic blondes.
Which we have of course been eating and eating in all of the usual ways, and some less usual ones too, including as a rich saucelike mélange of morels and corn. The combo is an affront to freshness – corn and morels are at opposite ends of abundance season – and I can’t vouch for how this would taste with supermarket corn, but frozen home-grown Silver Queen from last fall was great.
We used it to blanket pork chops and still had quite a bit left over, so the next night when it was Bill’s turn to cook he used it as stuffing for an enormous honker morel almost 8 inches long. ( He halved the thing, egg-and-crumbed the pieces, shallow-fried them crisp and then applied the reheated sauce mixture at the very last minute).
CORN AND MOREL SAUCE
For 4 generous portions:
Slowly cook a diced medium onion in 2 tablespoons of butter until it is semi-caramelized, starting to get deep brown around the edges. Add about 4 loosely-packed cups of coarsely chopped mature morels (3 cups would probably be enough if they were young and less copiously juicy). Let stew uncovered, stirring from time to time, until the morels are fully cooked and liquid is reduced to a few tablespoons. Add a slug of Madeira , simmer for a minute or two, then add 1 ½ cups of very tender cooked corn and about 1/3 cup of heavy, not-ultrapasteurized cream. As soon as these items are hot, it’s done. Taste, add salt if needed and serve.
One of Bill’s finds, with the proper cooking fat.