Market-fresh Morels

The greatest gift of a garden is the restoration of the five senses.

                                                                                                                              ~Hanna Rion

farmer’s market {Seattle-style

Rise and Shine! It is early Saturday morning, and not difficult to jump out of bed. One of my favorite days of the week–the Saturday outdoor farmer’s market! All week, I anticipate how my senses come alive with the tantalizing aromas of fresh herbs and  flowers mingled with the melange of color, form and texture of fresh-from-the-grower vegetables and fruit. I enjoy getting a few things that we don’t grow in the Rose Cottage kitchen garden.

This particular Saturday market is different–we are visiting our Darling Girl and her sweet hubby in Seattle. The four of us load-up in the Jeep, our market baskets at-hand, and head off to the local market. We want to arrive at the market “before the crowd”–the sun is just barely up. In the back seat of the Jeep, Darling Girl and I are quite animated as we chat about the fresh produce that is likely available at the market, and share ideas of amazing menus for the upcoming week. The guys in the front seat are unusally quite and stare off into the distance. They need a little more java.

We arrive at the market. Some vendors are just finishing unloading their trucks–they were up at 2 a.m. to cross over the mountain passes to the Seattle market.

Soon, we are dazzled by the offerings at each vendor/grower’s stall that are not seen at the markets near Rose Cottage–freshly pulled ramps, just-off-the -boat salmon and oysters, wooley pig sausages and meats, tender fiddleheads, ground hazelnut flour, wooden crates of the rosy-golden Mt. Rainer cherries and the brillant red bing cherries… and more. 

Market Fiddleheads

Then, at the end of the far aisle is a vendor in a small stall with several wooden boxes of wild morels–just forged from a forest floor in an undisclosed location! In front of each box is a hand-written description about morels. Also gathered, are gorgeous spring-green fiddleheads and lovely sea beans that taste like the ocean.

Market Morels

Be still my heart! My mind starts whirling about a possible dish or two using the morels to celebrate our time spent with the newlyweds. The coral-like morels are a distinctly unique mushroom. The elusive spongy fungi are so earthy looking with their odd textured caps. The aroma is lovely and their flavor is quite delicate, inspite of the funny appearance of the fungi. The biggest benefit of morels are the nutritional value–reportedly high in fiber, minerals, vitamins and anti-oxidants, and are low calorie, too.

Market morels close

I sort through the cavernous morels and place them in a brown paper lunch bag–weighing the bag periodically to monitor how much the little gems are costing. Joining in the search of the perfectly-sized fungi is another morel fancier. We start chatting as we sort through the wooden boxes. I learn that Ty and his wife, Gail, are quite the connaisseurs of these earthly delights. Recipes are soon swapped as are email addresses with the promise to send additional mouth-watering favorites.

pike place market

Next stop–fresh, whole salmon from the legendary Pike Place Market. We are looking for the fabulous short-seasoned Copper River Salmon. In our quest, we frequently duck to avoid the flying fish tossed by the fishmongers wearing bright orange hip waders.

market salmon

The final stop  is for a lovely market bouquet. The fresh-cut flowers are absolutely gorgeous at Pike Place Market. Who can resist a bouquet or two for the dinner table?

Market Rebekah and Peony Bouquet

 

market sweet peas

a feast fit for queens and kings 

Once back at the 1920’s bungalow, we gather fresh garlic, shallots and herbs from my Darling Girl’s garden in preparation for the celebration dinner. Amazingly, the rosemary is cut (nearly chopped!) from a rosemary bush that is over eight feet tall and nearly as wide! We will be using the rosemary with the grilled Copper River salmon. The pungent rosemary fragrance fills the kitchen, and lingers on our fingers as we mince, chop and dice garlic, shallots, Italian parsley and rosemary.

Fresh Rosemary

 

Just before we start to make the stuffing for the salmon, we trim ends of morel stalks. Wash them carefully to remove any debris from the forest floor or any little critters hidding out in the morel caverns. Then, the morels are dried.

Market morels. garlic. bread

The morels are sauteed in extra virgin Italian olive oil. The amazing fragrance fills the kitchen. Then, we add minced shallots and saute a little longer. And finally, the minced fresh garlic and is sauteed for 30 seconds. Generous handfuls of Parmigiano-Reggiano, finely minced herbs, sea salt and freshly cracked pepper are tossed with the sauteed mixture. The salmon is stuffed with the mushroom, shallot, garlic, herb and cheese mixture. Sliced lemons and oranges are placed on top of the salmon. Then,  it is drizzled in unsalted butter and wrapped tightly in foil. It is ready to be grilled.

market fresh salmon ready to grill

The aromas from the grill tease us for45 minutes. We are so eager for our celebration dinner with the darling newlyweds. We soon feel like kings and queens, and are so thankful for the generous gifts from the earth and the sea!

Market salmon off the grill

What are your favorite outdoor farmer’s markets this year? How do you prepare your morels or other market finds?

You may want to stroll over to The Southern Daydreamer for more Outdoor Wednesday posts.

Enjoying the simple pleasures of the gifts of the garden and awakening all the senses is one of my favorite ways to help create a beautiful life. What are yours? For more about creating a beautiful life, visit Melissa at The Inspired Room.

 

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12 Comments

Filed under Cooking, Gardening

12 responses to “Market-fresh Morels

  1. Wow…now that is a perfect shopping trip…lovely post and pictures…

  2. Isn’t the market fascinating? We never miss a walkthrough when we’re in Seattle. I love your photos. Thank you for sharing them with us.

  3. Happy Outdoor Wednesday Debbykay! I enjoyed your tour through the market in Seattle…very interesting! Thanks for sharing your photos.~ Susan

  4. Crystal

    Wow, that is a great market. You really found some great food for your celebration. That salmon look mouthwatering, so do the morels.
    Thanks for sharing!
    Crystal

  5. Edie

    My Very Best Sister Debbykay~
    What an absolutely wonderful post… the pictures are fabulous, the market information and stuffed salmon preparation was so inviting and wonderful to read I’m sure was was right there with you… What a wonderful memory you have of that very special celebration dinner in Seattle……..

    Love,
    Edie

  6. Oh my gosh! I’ve never seen so many big, juicy morels! We go hunting in the local woods every spring (everyone has their own favorite spot!) but we’re lucky to get a couple pounds. Love your ideas for cooking the mushrooms and fish. They’re great floured and fried, too!

  7. A perfect NW meal. I keep meaning to hope of the ferry and go the market. If you ever need cooking inspiration, that is the place. Clarice

  8. Oh I loved this post, seeing exactly where you got and how you cooked looks divine.

    Oh and I have never heard of morels or fiddleheads, neat.

  9. Those flowers look just gorgeous, and the meal looks delicious. It’s making me hungry 😉

  10. Dear Sweet Debbykay,

    What beautiful photos you have shared with us! I enjoyed reading all about your visit to the farmer’s market. How wonderful to be visiting your darling girl and sweet son-in-law in Seattle. I know you all were so excited and happy to be together, sharing in such a fun day, finding the freshest and most wonderful food to prepare for that special dinner together! The fiddleheads and wild morels look so good, the fish so fresh and the flowers are gorgeous! Oh, those sweet peas are incredible!

    Your dinner looks and sounds so delicious! How wonderful that darling daughter has all the herbs you needed growing in her own garden! The stuffing sounds fabulous for the wonderful salmon! I hope you brought home some of those Rainer and red bing cherries for dessert! I am so happy you had such a lovely dinner and visit with your dear ones, sweet friend!

    Have a beautiful weekend! I enjoyed my visit with you so much, as I always do!

    Love, Paula

  11. rebekahp

    This was such a fantastic dinner! I dream of its delish flavors.

    It is so much fun to go to the market, see what is fresh, and run home and start cooking! I can’t wait to do it again!

    Love,

    RJ

  12. I will go to the Puyallup Farmers Market
    deby

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