Morel season is here you guys! Every spring, these elusive mushrooms grace us with their presence. We still have not figured out a way to cultivate the Morel mushroom, so the market depends on found mushrooms, and to complicate matters, Morel’s do not always stay put. A spot that produces pounds of mushrooms one year, may produce nothing the next. I envy the friends I have that have mushrooms in their yards! Perhaps another hike is in order!
Morels are delicious in their woody flavor and pair well with many spring veggies and nutty cheeses. However you prepare them, make sure you thoroughly cook the mushrooms as they are mildly poisonous when not cooked.
We found morels at the Farmer’s Market this weekend, for a tolerably reasonable price of $9 per 3 ounce baggie. These guys are not cheap! Since we invested in these delicious morsels, but couldn’t afford more than the single baggie, I wanted to incorporate them into a dish that would do them justice without having the rather meagre portion getting lost amongst the other flavors of the dish.
Morels pair well with several cheeses like Compté, Gruyere, and Chèvre and could also be paired with spring peas or asparagus. We decided to go with chèvre and chives to allow the mushrooms to shine! Morels are really lovely cooked in butter, I would not replace it with any other fat!
Although my soufflé generally fits into one 2 quart soufflé dish, this variation made a bit extra, so prepare to have an extra oven-safe bowl on hand for the extra cup or so of dough. Lunch for tomorrow? Yes, please!
With the addition of veggies and cheese, this soufflé like my Smoked Salmon, Caper, and Cream Cheese Soufflé, does a great job staying up so you don’t have to panic about it falling before you take your impressive Instagram photos and sitting down for dinner.
I paired the soufflé with a light salad of quick pickled shallots, tomatoes, and arugula with a lemon and cognac mustard dressing (recipe below).
Morel, Chèvre, and Chives Soufflé
1 tbsp butter
3 oz fresh Morel mushrooms, cleaned and minced
1 tbsp butter, melted or softened for mold
1/4 cup bread crumbs, I use “Italian Seasoned” for the texture
5 tbsp butter
one small shallot, minced finely
5 tbsp all purpose flour
1 cup whole milk
1 cup half and half
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
pinch of paprika
pinch of nutmeg
4.5 oz container of Chèvre, at room temperature
1/4 cup chives
6 egg yolks
7 egg whites
1/8 tsp cream of tartar or 1/4 tsp baking powder
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Sauté mushrooms in butter for five minutes until dust starting to brown. Set aside.
- Coat the inside of a 2 quart soufflé mold with butter. Carefully dust with bread crumbs. Shake off any extra. Place in fridge while you prepare the filling.
- In a medium saucepan, melt butter. Add shallots and cook 2-3 minutes.
- Add flour and whisk continuously to create a roux. Cook for another 2-3 minutes.
- Carefully add in milk and half and half. Turn down heat and whisk continuously for about 5-7 minutes until the consistency thickens to that of a warm pudding.
- Take off the heat and place in a large mixing bowl.
- Season with salt, pepper, paprika, and nutmeg.
- Blend chèvre into the milk mixture. Allow to cool for 10 minutes.
- Separate egg yolks and egg whites. I crack the egg and carefully pour the egg yolk from one half of the shell to the other until the white is completely separated into a mixing bowl.
- Add egg yolks to the milk and cheese mixture one egg at a time. Whisk together.
- After all 6 eggs yolks are whisked in, whisk in the chives and mushrooms. Set aside.
- Either by hand or with stand mixer, whip egg whites for about 1 minute until soft peaks begin to form. Add in the cream of tartar and beat until firm peaks form. If liquid begins to reappear and the mixture separates, you have gone too far and need to restart with new egg whites. For this reason, if you are new to whipping egg whites, it is easier to do so by hand, even if your wrist will not agree. It is harder to ruin. If using a stand mixer, do not walk away while whipping.
- Switch to a rubber spatula and carefully fold in 1/3 of the egg white mixture into the yolk mixture. Do this slowly and methodically attempting not to lose any of the lightness of the yolks. Mixing a part into the yolk mixture allows you to fold the remainder in much more easily.
- Very very carefully, fold in the remainder of the egg whites until homogenous.
- Pour into prepared mold. Pour until about a half an inch below the rim. If you have extra, prepare an extra oven proof container for the rest.
- Even out the top if it does not look nice. I like to leave some sign of the pouring on the top for a nice effect when the soufflé bakes.
- Place a meat thermometer into one corner angled towards the center.
- Bake for about 50 minutes to 1 hour and 10 minutes, until the interior temperature reads 180 degrees.
- Serve immediately with a light salad.
Arugula, Asparagus, and Tomato Salad with Lemon Marinated Shallots and Cognac Mustard Dressing
1 small shallot, thinly sliced
3 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp whole grained mustard, I use Moutarde Royale’s Pommery Mustard with Cognac
2 vine tomatoes, sliced
1/2 bunch asparagus, trimmed, chopped into 2 inch pieces
4 cups arugula
2 tbsp olive oil, or to taste
salt and pepper to taste
- Pour lemon juice over the shallots, season with salt and pepper, and allow to marinate for about 10 minutes.
- Blanch asparagus in a bit of water for about 1-2 minutes. Rinse in ice water to stop cooking process.
- Add mustard to lemon juice and shallot mixture. Whisk in 2 tbsp olive oil.
- Add remaining ingredients and mix together. Taste and adjust dressing flavorings.
Total cooking time: 2 hours, serves 3-4