Morel Mania begins

It was Sandro 5, Cynthia 1 in our first wild mushroom foray of the season. Not quite enough for risotto, but enough to sauté with steak for dinner.

The rubbery, cone-shaped morels proved as elusive as ever, poking up through last year’s grey-brown leaves, dried to parchment. The smart ones pop up under a curled leaf, which protects them from the elements but makes them even harder to spot.

Each year I have to re-learn how to stop and slowly scan the forest floor for shrooms as if holding a video camera. I was beginning to think I’d never find one when one took pity on me and showed its brown head along the side of the path.

Out came the Italian mushroom knife and into the mesh-bottom bag it went – the one we brought home from the annual mushroom competition in Boyne City, Michigan, where golden morels can grow 8 inches high.

Wild leeks, with their floppy green leaves and straight white bulbs, were more plentiful. We’ve been sautéing them with eggs, chicken, everything!

It’s the earliest Ontario season anyone can remember. Now if we could just get some rain!

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