With sunny spring days in Wisconsin come some great treasures from Mother Earth. Morel Mushrooms and Wild Asparagus to name two of my favorites. As a child my grandparents and my Mom used to take me out asparagus hunting in the ditches along the roadsides and along fence lines. Asparagus prefers full sunlight and grows right under the old stalks from last years crop. So if you are walking in the tall grass and not finding any asparagus take a gander into the distance and see if you see any tall old brown stalks. Go check under the long grasses and you are sure to find some beautiful new asparagus stalks for the picking! This vegetable in my opinion does not need a lot of prep work. I love it simply sautéed until fork tender and tossed with a little butter salt and pepper. It will melt in your mouth and make all those cold winter days disappear.
The other treasure Mother Earth offers us Wisconites in spring is the Morel Mushroom. A much more elusive treasure to find in the woods of Wisconsin. I have not been a very lucky Morel hunter in the past but am determined to find some this year as it is supposed to be a record year for Morels. Most wild mushrooms come up in the summer and fall so Morels are one of the few especially edible mushrooms that come up in the spring.
The best places to look for Morels are near dying Elm trees and by living White Ash trees. They are hard to spot but once you find one you are bound to find a whole outcropping of them. Morels have a distinct “nutty woodsy flavor” that tastes best when sautéed in butter. It really does not need much else unless you like to make a grilled cheese with them! Just sauté them up and put on your favorite sourdough bread with one of our cheesse. I think a smoked Gouda or a regular Gouda or a Butterkase would pair wonderfully with Morels.
May 16th and 17th is Morel Mushroom Fest in Muscoda WI! Also know as the Mushroom capital of Wisconsin since 1982 where dense woodlands help to foster and abundance of mushrooms. Sounds like a festival I’ll be checking out for sure! How about you?
Happy Morel and Asparagus hunting this spring! Enjoy!
And “That’s the Whey it is”!