Thursday, April 15, 2010

Post 4: Prepare a Meal (Wild Morel and Asparagus Omelet)

Since it is officially morel and wild asparagus season here in WI, I thought it would be a nice idea to make a wild morel and asparagus omelet.

Before you can make the omelet, you first you have to go into the woods and find your Morels. A good place to start if you don't own or have friends that own a very large wooded area, is to locate any local 'state-owned' land or state park and head deep into the woods. Morels are typically found near dead or dying Elm trees. Unfortunately, there are plenty throughout WI. Usually when you find a Morel there are generally more close by. This (left) is a picture of a wild morel. You only need @ a dozen to make a couple great omelets. You do not have to worry about picking a poisonous variety because only one other mushroom looks like a morel. It only slightly resembles a Morel will not make you sick unless you ate 2 pounds yourself. Morels have a distinctive shape and smell, so don't worry. Next, you can choose to either walk along any rural road in WI and usually find wild Asparagus growing this time of year. Or take the easy route and go to a local grocery store and buy a pound.

Ingredients -
One dozen small to medium sized (1.5 to 3 inches high) fresh Morels
12 fresh Asparagus stalks
2 Green Onion stalks
4 Large Eggs
1/2 cup grated Cheddar or Colby cheese
3 Tablespoons butter
** Salt & Pepper to taste

Utensils -
Cutting board
Knife suitable for chopping
2 small mixing bowls (1 pint minimum)
Fork for whisking
Wooden Spatula
12 inch sauté pan (non-stick works best for most people)

Start by gently rinsing the morels, inside and out, trim off any bad looking spots and discard, and lay to dry a couple minutes on a paper towel. Rinse the Asparagus, trim off the bottom "woody" 1 inch of each stalk and discard, and chop the remaining stalk into 1 inch pieces. Slice the Morels cross-wise into 1/4 inch rings. Chop the Green Onion cross-wise into fine rings. Reserve a small amount of the chopped green onion to sprinkle on top of the omelet as a garnish. On medium heat, sauté the Morels, Asparagus and Green Onion in 1 tablespoon of butter until the Asparagus begins to soften
and most of the liquid is gone. * Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set this mixture aside. Crack eggs into a bowl (discarding shells of course) and Wisk with a fork until well mixed. On medium-low heat melt the remaining butter in the sauté pan, and pour in the whisked eggs. Using a wooden spatula, gently stir the eggs until they are still slightly moist, but be careful not to let the eggs brown on the bottom. Turn off the flame if using gas, or turn off the heat and move pan aside if using electric. The heat from the pan will finish cooking the eggs. Pour the Morel/Asparagus mixture on the eggs and spread evenly down the middle from one side to the other. Sprinkle the cheese evenly across the entire area. Tilt the pan toward you, and using the spatula, fold one side of the omelet to the middle along the line of the mixture. Repeat this same fold on the opposite side. Using the spatula, cut the omelet in half and place each half on a plate. Garnish the top with a small amount of the Green Onion.
Serve and enjoy!!

This is truly one of the best treats you can give yourself or someone else. Hunting for Morels and wild Asparagus is aslo a pretty neat experience.

In the book In Defense of Food, Michael Pollen talks about how Americans don't stop to enjoy their food. With fast food chain restaurants becoming more and more popular, on-the-go food has began to replace family meals. I agree wholeheartedly. Today, it seems like people eat strictly out of necessity. I think that to truly enjoy a meal, you also have to enjoy the company of the people around you. Plus, meals that are quickly made usually are not the most healthy. I liked my meal choice because by including wild asparagus and morels, it makes me feel like I am eating real food, just like Pollan suggests.

Jill Nussinow, a.k.a. The Veggie Queen, agrees with Pollan. She too stresses the importance of eating real food, or food that is fresh and not processed. She noted the importance of preparing a meal to make it more healthy. I enjoyed reading her articles because not only does she talk about health meal alternatives, but she also has some amazing recipes.

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