Morel Season has been off the hook. We have found them in Washington, Mt. Hood, Sisters, and McCall, Idaho. There is nothing like a fresh morel for cooking with so this month I am posting recipes specifically with morel’s in them for those of you that are interested in hunting morel’s.
Hunting Morel’s is a discipline. Sometimes you are going to get disappointed because the conditions are not right. Those are what I call a scouting mission. When the conditions all line up and the morel’s start popping that is when you know you are getting paid off for all the scouting trips and weather watching you have done the weeks before. My weekends are consumed with this activity during the season.
Stephanie, my wife, loves pizza. She would eat it every other day if she could. She also runs about 6-8 miles a day and 1/2 marathons all the time so she can get away with it. I, on the other hand, does not have that luxury. So I decided since she loves morels and pizza to make her the perfect morel pizza.
My Pizza Pesto Sauce
- 1/4 cup Olive Oil
- 1 cup fresh basil leaves
- 3 tablespoons of roasted pine nuts (roasted means brown them in the pan first)
- 4 garlic cloves (if you do not want the extra garlic taste roll with 3 cloves but everyone hates a quitter)
- 1/2 tablespoon of red pepper flakes
- 1 cup of Parmesan cheese
- Blend in processor until smooth. Add more olive oil as needed to give it smooth creamy texture
I take my pre-made pizza dough that I had to buy because my wife outlawed flour in the kitchen when I am in it. Let it rise for about 30 minutes and I start tossing it in the air like Luigi Pastorini Linguini guy.
Take a nice chicken breast and seasoned it with salt and pepper and cook it until down in a pan. Then slice it evenly. I use a monkey to put the chicken on the pizza.
I mean seriously the monkey loves it.
Take the morels, cut them length wise in half, about 15 of them. Get a hot pan ready, add butter and a tablespoon of chopped garlic. Then add the morels on high heat and flash the pan with a little Sherry. Cook for 2-3 minutes.
Here is where you can use your creative energy on what type of cheese to use. Do not use a greasy cheese like a cheddar. It produces too much oil. I used a mixture of white fontina, mozzarella, and little gouda. I used my oven, with a pizza stone that I heated at 400 degrees for 30 minutes.
Turn up the oven to 475 degrees. Here is the trick, use parchment paper under the pizza so you do not burn yourself handling the stone.
Let the pizza sit for about 10 minutes, before cutting. At this point, you basically have to guard the pizza from house predators because it smells so good. Some ovens cook longer than others but keep an eye on it and once the cheese browns remove it.
Stephanie was a very happy young lady, which makes it good for me when I want to sneak off hunting morels. She encourages this activity.
I hope you give it a try, both hunting morels and this pizza.