2018-05-17 / Life in Leelanau

Cook 'em up

There are many ways to cook up foraged finds. Here are a few suggestions from local foragers Andy Schudlich and Pete Edwards.

Sauteed Fiddlehead Ferns

 Find fiddleheads with a tight curl at the top, about four inches long but still soft. The good ones have a deep “U” in the stem.

 Sautee with oil or butter until tender

 Salt and pepper to taste

Morel Mushrooms

 Place 1 pound halved morel mushrooms in a large bowl; cover with cold, lightly salted water. Refrigerate mushrooms for about 5 minutes to loosen any dirt; pour off salted water, rinse, and repeat twice more. Crevices of the mushrooms may harbor tiny stones or even insects. Thoroughly rinse mushrooms a final time and allow to drain on paper towels.

 Place 1 cup flour and salt to taste in a shallow bowl.

 Heat 1 cup vegetable shortening in a large skillet until very hot.

 Roll mushrooms in flour and tap off excess; gently lay mushrooms in the hot shortening.

 Pan-fry until golden brown and flour coating is crisp, 5 to 8 minutes, turning often. Drain morels on paper towels, salt to taste, and enjoy your treasures!

Wild Leek and Potato Soup

 Melt 3 tablespoons butter over medium heat in a large soup pot. Add 5 cups chopped leeks and 3 cloves minced garlic and cook, stirring regularly, until soft and wilted, about 10 minutes. Adjust the heat as necessary so as not to brown.

 Add 2 pounds chopped potatoes, 7 cups of chicken or vegetable stock, 2 bay leaves, 3 sprigs of thyme, salt and pepper to pot and bring to a boil. Cover and turn the heat down to low. Simmer for 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are very soft.

 Fish out the thyme sprig and bay leaves, then purée the soup with a hand-held immersion blender until smooth.

 Add 1 cup heavy cream and bring to a simmer. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.

 If soup is too thin, simmer until thickened. If it’s too thick, add water or stock to thin it out. Garnish with fresh herbs if desired.

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