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Great recipes for Norwalk-area mushroom hunters

By DICK MARTIN • May 4, 2019 at 9:00 AM

How was your morel mushroom hunting success? Poor? Fair? Good or great? Readers will report all of the above answers, but lots of them at least will make a fair haul of these delicious fungi, enough to eat immediately and some left over to freeze for future meals. If you’re in the latter category, you probably did the following — took them home, sliced the lot lengthwise and soaked them in salt water for an hour or so to get rid of forest floor debris and small insects. Then you reached with pumping salivary glands for a handful and started to enjoy the fruits of your labor.

For most mushroom hunters the initial move is to grab a skillet, melt some butter, then toss in some of your catch, stir them around for a few minutes, and dig in. They’re excellent that way. Next move come dinnertime for some carnivores is to fire up the grill, throw on some steaks, and when you turn them over add a handful of morel pieces to sizzle for a couple of minutes. Steak and mushrooms are good at any time, but when you use morels the meal becomes near magic.

Now what do you do with the rest? Likely, you’ll cut them into fair sized pieces, place them in pint or quart containers, cover them with water for long storage and all winter long remove some occasionally to make special treats for meal time, and there are lots of recipes for these. One good choice is morels with scrambled eggs. Just stir up your eggs, add milk, and stir in the mushrooms. Your tastebuds will thank you for them. Or make gravy using your favorite recipe, add some mushroom pieces and pour over hot fried potatoes made with onions and green peppers to enrich the potatoes.

It seems like everybody loves bacon these days, and even restaurant bought hamburgers usually now come with bacon on top. Fry your bacon until it’s ready to eat, then leave it in the pan with its grease and add a half dozen or so split morels, cooking lightly until the grease turns clear again. You’ll like this one. I favor omelets and routinely fix them for breakfast using bacon or smoked ham bits, onions, green peppers, and sometimes a bit of salsa and cheddar cheese fragments. Stir in some chopped up morels along with the eggs, and a good omelet just gets better.

My wife likes to cook chicken pieces in a can of cream of mushroom soup, adding just a little butter, salt and pepper, and maybe a touch of fresh parsley. And morels. You’ve got to try this one! These fungi go well with fish, too. Try sauteing a half pound of sliced morels in butter, then add 3 tablespoons of flour and cook until smooth. Then slowly add 2 cups of milk, stir in a cup and a half of crumbled cooked fish, salt and pepper, and maybe a touch of lemon juice. Heat thoroughly and remove from heat. Hard to go wrong if you like fish.

There are lots more recipes. Morels and ham, morel quiche, morel meatloaf (try this one), spaghetti and morels, bleu cheese morels, creamed morels, morels with cheese filling, the list goes on and on. Until your bounty of good eating has disappeared until the next year. Which can be a little sad.

 

Dick Martin is a free-lance writer from Shelby. Reach him at [email protected] You also can visit his blog at outdoorswithmartin.com.

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HOOKS & BULLETS

• Walleye fishing this spring started well and just got better. Fish are being caught of up to 10 pounds plus, and the best method is definitely trolling with the top bait being blue/chrome Bandits. Other steady producers are Reef Runner Deep Divers, Rapala Deep Huskie Jerks, and Storm Thundersticks. The fish are being caught over most of the Western Basin, but good places to start are G Can, H Can, and south of Niagara Reef. Some are being netted between B Can and C Can on the north end of the Camp Perry Firing Range, east of Niagara Reef, and between Round and Niagara Reef.

• Other species are doing well, too. Steelhead and smallmouth bass are biting well in the Rocky and Chagrin Rivers whenever water conditions permit, with a mix of fresh pre-spawn and post-spawn trout providing the steelhead action. They're hitting best on nickel sized spawn sacs, maribou jigs under floats with maggots or waxworms, beads that imitate salmon eggs, and bait fish streamers. Lake run smallmouths are holding in deep, rocky pools, and taking jigs, Wooly Buggers, and live minnows. It looks like a very good time to go fishing.

• The opening day of the 2019 wild turkey hunting season in the south zone didn't go as well as it did last year. This time hunters bagged 2,965 toms and jakes, down noticeably from last years tally of 3,316 birds. Huron County gunners did reasonably well, killing 25 gobblers. Richland County hunters found 44,, Seneca only 27, and Lorain 24, while those in Crawford County shot 9.

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