All over the southern United States, where morels are widespread, you will find variants of this recipe. The technique of dredging the mushrooms in a spicy coating and deep-frying them is the same as that traditionally used for oysters – which might be why in some parts, rather bizarrely, you’ll hear morels referred to as ‘dry land fish.’
Some recipes use breadcrumbs, others use cornmeal, but we think the best is a light coating of flour, which doesn’t overwhelm the delectable fungi. You can cook any sort of mushroom like this, but the important thing with morels is that you must ensure they are thoroughly cooked.
Serve these tasty morsels hot and crisp from the pan, with wedges of lemon, a dollop of our wild garlic mayonnaise and perhaps a nice cold beer.
- 400g morels
- 150g plain flour
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoon sweet paprika
- 2 eggs
- 125ml milk
- Oil, for deep frying
- Carefully clean the morels, checking inside their hollows stems and in the indentations of their honeycomb caps for dirt and detritus. Cut any large morels in half from top to bottom.
- Put the flour, salt, pepper, and paprika into wide dish and mix together with a fork. Beat together the milk and eggs in a bowl.
- Prepare the oil for deep frying. If using a deep-fat fryer, preheat the oil to 170˚C. If you’re using a pan, choose a wide, deep one and do not fill it above a third of its depth with oil. Set over a high heat, and to test if the oill is ready for frying, drop in a little piece of bread – if it immediately rises surrounded in bubbles, the oil is hot enough.
- While the oil is heating up, dust the morels in the seasoned flour and set them on a plate near the fryer or stove. Set the bowl of egg and dish of flour nearby. When the oil is up to temperature, dip a morel into the egg mixture, then into the flour again. Shake off any excess flour and carefully lower the coated morel into the oil. Repeat with the other morels, frying in batches so as not overcrowd the pan. Cook for about 4 minutes, until golden brown and crisp, then lift out the morels and drain them on kitchen paper. Hand the cooked morels around while they’re hot and crisp, or keep them warm in the oven while you cook the rest.
Recipe and photos by Otherwise for Wild Food UK