If you’re perusing the Farmer’s Market and come across mushrooms that look like sponges, I encourage you to take some home. These mushrooms are morels, and they’re a highly-coveted ingredient for chefs—especially those that specialize in French cuisine. Butter helps to enhance their distinct flavor, which is why we love to cook morels with clarified butter, also known as ghee.
What you’ll also see popping up this spring are fava beans. You can buy them dried or fresh. Personally, I opt for fresh as often as possible. When purchased in their whole form, favas are encased in a jacket that looks similar to a green (or string) bean. To prep, simply trim one end, pull the seam and pluck out the beans.
Our Ghee-Poached Morel Mushroom recipe combines these seasonal favorites in a unique and elegant way. You can serve them as an appetizer or with cocktails (we like to present them on serving spoons to maximize their individual beauty).
What’s special about this recipe is that the mushrooms are cooked in a sous vide, which is like a hot bath. If you read our post from last week—about my vacuum-sealer obsession—this is just one other use for that handy gadget. If you don’t have one, Ziploc bags work just fine.
Now, it’s time for a little morel magic…
Ghee-Poached Morel Mushrooms w/ Fava Bean Mousse
All it takes
For the mushrooms:
1 cup ghee
6 garlic cloves, sliced
½ small yellow onion, thinly sliced
15 fresh morel mushrooms
Sea salt, finely ground
For the Fava Bean Mousse:
1 ½ lbs. fresh fava beans
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ cup olive oil
⅓ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp. grated fresh lemon zest
½ tsp. fresh thyme, finely chopped
½ tsp. kosher salt
Let’s get cooking
Prep the mushrooms:
- Heat ghee, garlic and onion in a small saucepan until the garlic starts to caramelize and the onions are softened, about 10 minutes. Allow ghee to cool to room temperature.
- Place mushrooms, ghee mixture and a pinch of salt in a vacuum-seal bag (or heavy duty Ziploc bag.)
- If you have a sous vide machine, set your temperature to 185° F. If you don’t, bring a large pot of water up to 185° F. Monitor the temperature with a cooking/candy thermometer.
- Once the water is up to temperature, place the sealed mushrooms into the water bath. Cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
- While the mushrooms are cooking, prepare your mousse.
For the mousse:
- Remove fava beans from their pods and set aside. This should yield about 1 cup.
- Bring a medium pot of lightly salted water to a boil over high heat and prepare an ice bath (a large bowl of ice cubes and cold water). Boil the favas until they are tender and the outer skins begin to shed, 5-7 minutes.
- Drain and immediately place beans in the ice bath (this stops them from continuing to cook and preserves their beautiful color).
- Peel the outer membranes off the fava beans and discard them. Place the blanched and peeled favas and the remaining fava ingredients into a blender and blend until very smooth. Makes about 1 ½ cups.
Stuffing the mushrooms:
- Once the mushrooms are done cooking, drain off the ghee mixture (reserve for another dish—like risotto!).
- Place Fava Bean Mousse into a piping bag with a pastry tip small enough to fit into the openings of the mushrooms. Or, place the mousse into a Ziploc bag and cut a small hole at the edge. Gently pipe filling into mushrooms.
- Serve warm.