I developed this recipe specifically with those late season morels in mind. You find a lot of big ones–some of which are damn near perfect, others started to mold in places or crumble but with salvagable bits. I would still be sure to use only parts with no trace of decomposition: no color change, firm flesh, no contamination from other fungi, etc. Take those morels that need some trimming, toss the bad parts, you can chop those up and saute them with shallots. Add lemon zest, fresh grated parmesan and stir that into some ricotta. That’s just the filling! Then, using a sturdy bag with the corner sliced off, you can pipe this mixture into the really nice, firm, huge morels you’ve found. Then baste those whole morels with butter and broil them over high heat. It. Is. AMAZING!
6-8 very large morels (ideally at least 3” long cap)
1 c chopped morels
½ c ricotta
¼ c freshly grated parmesan
1 tbsp milk
1 shallot, finely diced
Zest of 1 lemon
A few sprigs of thyme
On medium heat, coat medium size fry pan with oil. Drop in the shallot and a minute or two later all the chopped morels. Flake in two sprigs worth of thyme and add a pinch of salt. Saute for five to ten minutes, stirring regularly, until the mixture is starting to reach a golden brown. Remove from heat and add into a small mixing bowl.
Add grated parmesan and lemon zest to the mixture. Stir well and allow to cool. Add ricotta and milk and stir well. If it seems too thick like it won’t be able to be piped very well, add more milk. Then transfer mixture to your piping bag.
Pipe into the morels.
Take a tbsp of butter and melt in pan. Working in shifts, turn heat on high and roll 2 or 3 morels in the butter to fully wet each side while simultaneously starting to cook the morel. If the morels starts to go slack and the mixture begins to come out, go ahead and remove that one from heat and continue with other morels. The point here is to wet the morels and get them warmed up for the broiling.
Arrange morels on a baking sheet with an object such as a spatula (silicone spatula pictured above in bottom right) laying flat lengthwise across the pan that the open side of the morels can be propped up on. When the ricotta mixture is still warm from the pan, some will drip out, but most will stay in the mushroom. As the broiler cooks the exposed cheese, it will firm up and prevent further seepage of mixture.
Broil under high heat until they turn golden brown on each side (I really just did the “top” and “bottom”).
Serve immediately with a fresh sprinkle of thyme and coarse sea salt. Add some red pepper flakes or a squeeze of lemon if you like. Enjoy!
You could probably skip the step which sautes in the pan. Instead, melt better in small dish. Liberally brush the broiler facing side of each mushroom with butter. Proceed with broiling. Then, once one side browns, pull the pan out, turn mushrooms and brush with butter again. Brown that side. Do this with all sides if you like, but two worked for me.
If you just got back from the woods harvesting morels, and you have ramps, you could substitute ramp bulbs for shallots and chop the green leaves to stir into the mixture as well. Feel free to play with these ingredients. I also happen to think whipped goat cheese could be a great replacement for ricotta if you can get the consistency right for piping.
Also, the filling makes a fantastic pasta sauce or spread for toast if you have any leftovers.