Northwest Montana has a reputation as morel country—one that’s unfortunately being increased by extended wildfire “seasons.” But as I learned by talking with local forager Dale Johnson for my Twice as Tasty column for the Flathead Beacon, morel mushrooms also tend to crop up in areas thick with cottonwoods. So we’ve been looking closer to home for these flavorful fungi over the last couple of weeks. No luck yet—I’m suspicious that they’ll be in hiding from the near-freezing nights as long as my asparagus—but we’re keeping our eyes peeled.
Dale shared more than just tips on foraging for morels. He also offered up some of his favorite cooking techniques, many of which apply to all sorts of wild mushrooms. He emphasized how there’s so much water in mushrooms like morels that they will have the best flavor and texture if they’re cooked first and then hit with butter, soy sauce, cream, or other favored ingredients. I’ll be following Dale’s advice and grilling or dry sautéing our morel harvest.
Learn to cook with wild mushrooms