I had one of those I Have To Make This Immediately moments last week when I came upon this recipe, mostly because all the ingredients were already present in my refrigerator, awaiting their big chance. Oh, and by “all of the ingredients” I mean I had all but the stock, the vermouth, and the three varieties of mushrooms. However, keeping with the IHTMTI-mood, Sunday afternoon Alex and I headed out to Whole Foods to buy the remaining parts.
Morels are nasty-looking. They’re part dirt-clad pinecone, part sea sponge, part tree bark, and a large part… septic-looking… if you know what I mean. The sign above them said – and I paraphrase generously – that the darker and more funky-looking the morel, the deeper the taste. Elsewhere I had read that raw morels contain a small amount of toxicity, and must be cooked before eating. It would have taken half this information for the average person to determine that morels are the opposite of something you wanted to eat, but all it did was intrigue me further.
As did the price: $49.99 per pound.
I’ve always supposed that in so many of life's purchases, there is a Manolo Blahnik-factor. You may know that you don’t exactly need $500 shoes, and you may be aware that they are obscenely overpriced, but there is also a part of you that demands to know just *what* $500 shoes feel like to your deprived, overworked dogs. In my case, stilettos and the types that clomp around in them do little for me, but tell me a piece of fungus is out-of-budget and I will demand to take it home.
And oh yes. I did.
When the two morels rang up to a mere fifty cent, [Musical interlude: I came up fast, I watched a lot of gats blast, the power of the dollar, the cash, the cash…] I was admittedly disappointed over the reduced indulgence factor. Additionally, I am not sure that their flavor had a huge impact on a dish with other so many other ingredients. But, we all know that the real fun in overpriced purchases is the feeling that you are taking part in something gauche, like Tiffany’s, Kona coffee, forty-year-old single malt…
That, of course, and later telling your friends about it, who characteristically respond: So wait, you’re telling me you bought fifty dollar mushrooms that did not get you high?! You’re nuts.
… Like it’s news.
I love Madhur Jaffrey. Especially World Vegetarian. My only grouse is that there are no pictures.
1 | Jaya | April 13, 2005 08:03 AM
"forty-year-old single malt" - Yum. You need to try the Knappogue Castle 1951...
didn't you used to have a recipe section?
Jaya, I actually came across the recipe doing a search for her Indian recipes since I've been on a massive Indian-cooking kick.
Michael, a certain SantaDad has a v. big bday coming up... thanks for the suggestion!
Devon, Yes, I did. And I miss it, but I became concerned about reprinting copyrighted and other material, considering that I would utterly freak if someone did the same to me. Now I just link to them. Or, print them and flagrantly brag that they are "without permission."
In the words of Jack Benny, whom most of you are too young to remember, "I am 39!"
Let me guess--the "fifty dollar mushrooms that did not get you high?" comment must of come from really Gay Dave!
Surely you didn't have to buy a whole pound, right? the recipe only calls for 3 or so mushrooms. They can't weigh that much!
Back in my creme-fraiche infested country, we make this:
Chicken breasts with Morels Cream Sauce - you brown a couple of shallots with butter in a frying pan with the flame set on low. When they look all good and caramelized, you turn the gas way up and throw in the chicken breasts, until they're all good and brown too. You add salt and pepper. You dice the morels that have been soaking in warm water for 20 minutes, and throw them in. And two minutes before the chicken is good and ready, you take it out and put it to the side, you turn the gas down again, while you add a couple of huge spoonfuls of creme fraiche to the juice and shallots in the pan (replaceable with Heavy Cream) - personally, I put the whole container in, cause creamy is my motto, but not everybody's arteries can take it. You stir with a wooden spoon. The cream takes the color of gold. It melts a little, it looks like you're going to die of pleasure right there and then. Put the chicken back in for a couple of minutes, to let it absorb some cream.
Serve with fresh fettucine.
Have multiple orgasms.
Yes. Yes. Yes.
Darn. I forgot the cognac part - I was in a hurry to get to the cream. Before you take out the chicken and add the cream, you throw in a bit of cognac and set it on fire. Hmmmm.
9 | Marie | April 15, 2005 12:45 PM