Morels: Luxurious — and free!

Portland restaurants pay up to $40/pound for these fun guys, considered to be among the planet’s most delectable mushrooms. You can get morels for free if you hunt around downed cottonwood trees in areas with moist soil near watersources. A mushroom expert I know says they also grow in forests that have been burned to char. To harvest morels, slice them at the base. At home, cut them in half and let them soak in salt water for 30 to 45 minutes. That sterilizes them and gets rid of the slugs that sometimes live inside them. I recommend sauteing your morels in garlic and butter.

My friend and I added steamed kale and couscous to the pan for a great entree. Our first course was a salad made of chickweed, dandelion flowers and miner’s lettuce.

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