I never know how much fiddleheads and morels I’ll be able to get each year, so I always make sure to cook them at least once each Spring. But with the temperamental prices and my cooking schedule, I never know if the second opportunity will arise.
The first cooking, I keep simple. I want to savor the flavors and textures, uncluttered. The second cooking, I tend to be more “creative.” An elegant way to serve the morels is atop an asparagus vichyssoise.
Asparagus Vichyssoise with Sautéed Morels
1 qt. chicken or vegetable broth
1 tbs. olive oil
2 small leeks, chopped
1/4 cup potatoes, diced
24 asparagus spears, trimmed, tips reserved
2 sprigs parsley
1 cup spinach
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 pound morels, wiped clean
1 large shallot, peeled and diced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
1/4 cup dry sherry
For the Soup:
1. Heat olive oil in large pot. Sweat leeks and potatoes. Add asparagus, parsley and chicken broth. Simmer for 15 minutes or until asparagus and potatoes are tender.
2. Put 1/4 cup spinach in the bottom of a blender. Ladle soup into blender and puree. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Repeat process until all the soup is pureed.
3. Bring a small pot of salted water to a boil. Blanch the asparagus tips for 1 minute. Drain and run under cold water to lock in the color.
4. Garnish soup with asparagus tips and morels.
For the Morels:
1. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the morels. Sprinkle shallots, garlic and thyme on top. Season with salt and pepper. Let cook for 3 minutes without stirring or shaking. Stir a little and cook for another minute.
2. Deglaze the pan with sherry. Cook for another two minutes until the sherry is absorbed. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
If I have a third chance, I will serve sautéed morels with seared foie gras. I still have a small piece left over in the freezer.