Comfort food isn’t just for cold weather anymore. The Spring season brings morel mushrooms, one of nature’s heartiest, richest, and strangest delicacies. The spongy texture of the morel absorbs flavor and adds an earthy depth to dishes.
I came up with this simple Pan Fried Wild Mushrooms with Thyme concoction as an accompaniment to sweet Monkfish, otherwise known as the “poor man’s lobster.” The addition of Marsala wine and a bit of water creates a divine and buttery broth, perfect for bread soaking. Next time, I’ll serve the mushrooms as an entrée over whole wheat pasta or thick grilled bread. Other ideas: use morels in mushroom risotto, or stirred into Israeli cous cous, or in a flaky, buttery mushroom tarte.
Pan Fried Mushrooms with Thyme
- 4-5 Morel mushrooms, caps and all, sliced lengthwise about 1 inch thick
- 1 package pre-sliced sliced portabella mushrooms, cut in half
- 1 package “gourmet mushrooms” (you can usually find an assortment of mushrooms packaged together, which included cremini, oyster, etc. If not, just throw in whatever variety you’d like)
- 4 tablespoons butter (or Earth Balance for a vegan friendly dish)
- 5-6 Springs of Thyme, using the leaves only
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 white onion, diced
- 3-4 cloves garlic (depending on your taste), finely chopped
- 1/4 cup Marsala wine
Sauté onions and garlic in 2 tablespoons of butter or Earth Balance on medium heat until tender and translucent. Add half of the thyme, setting remainder aside. Add mushrooms and sauté on high heat until tender, about ten minutes, stirring frequently. Add salt and pepper to taste and remaining thyme. Add water and sauté for about 5 minutes until broth is bubbling, then add Marsala and stir for another 5 minutes.