Morels are a very tasty spring time treat. One of the few things left in this world that are still seasonal, rare, and special. Some great recipes can be found here.
Hunting for Morels is an art. It's like searching for treasure. They grow in the woods and only in very moist soil. Look for May Apples in bloom growing near rotted wood on the forest floor. Apple, Elm and Poplar trees are favorite clues for trained shroom hunters.
Julie Zickefoose hunts morels on her 80-acre nature preserve near Whipple Ohio. She writes about her priate like passion on NPR's website:
The morel organism is a huge underground system called a mycelium, which is made up of connected fungal strands and clods that can cover acres. It can live for decades, but it doesn't put forth fruit every year. What we see aboveground — those hollow, rubbery, wrinkled manifestations — are just the fruiting bodies of the ancient, secret creature living deep beneath the ground.
We pick ours into a mesh onion bag, and we swing it like a censer as we walk, hoping that we're spreading precious spores as we go. Back home, we rinse them briefly, then sprinkle the holy wash water back where we found them, completing a ritual of thanks to the fungus that feeds us.
Picking morels feels like stealing treasure from the rich soil; cutting their firm, shapely forms into little wheels is a sensual pleasure. A rich, peaty smell rises up from them. When butter begins to bubble in the pan, you drop the mushrooms in, and the liquid pours out of them. They're tender in moments, and you must remove them while you reduce the sauce. A dash of white wine, a tiny dollop of mustard, green onions and a whomp of sour cream; salt to taste, and you return the little wheels to their sauce, drizzling them over rice, pasta or meat.
Morels fairly explode with complex flavor, with woodsy, earthy, mysterious notes.
They taste like nothing else on Earth; they're in a class with truffles and caviar. And best of all, they're free.
If you decide to give Morel hunting a try, do a little research first, or go with an experienced shroomer, because the "false morel" is a similar looking mushroom that grows in the same conditions and while some people tolerate it well, it ha been known to make others very sick.