The mushrooms are coming, the mushrooms are coming!

You know it’s morel season when photos of grimy, grinning mushroom hunters begin to show up on social media, and the Government of Yukon posts links on its Facebook page to fire maps and tips on safe and respectful harvesting.

You’ll need a license for commercial harvesting, but if you’re picking for yourself and your household, all you need is a good nose, bear spray, some buckets and drying equipment, and knowledge of where not to pick: First Nations settlement land (unless you have permission) and on private property.

Be safe out there, morel fans. I’m no pro, but a couple of years ago I had good luck in the transition areas at the edges of the burn. And that is my only tip—except, there’s quiche when you get home.

Morel mushroom quiche

Caramelized Onion and Morel Mushroom Quiche

Ingredients

Crust (enough pastry for 2 quiches made in 9-inch pans)

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, diced into small cubes
  • 1/2 cup cold vegetable shortening, such as Crisco, frozen briefly and diced into small cubes
  • 3 to 4 Tbsp very cold water

Filling (enough for one quiche)

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp butter, divided
  • 1 medium onion, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp sherry, port or cooking sherry*
  • 1/2 oz (3/4 cup) dried morel mushrooms, rehydrated in 1 cup hot water
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp soya sauce
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup 10% cream
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

Instructions

For the crust

  1. whisk flour and salt together in a medium bowl, or pulse briefly in a food processor. Cut in butter and shortening with a pastry cutter or two knives, or pulse in a food processor until butter and shortening are the size of peas.
  2. Add water, 1 tablespoon at a time, stirring dough with a fork or pulsing briefly until the dough holds together when pinched between the fingers. Form into a rough disc, cut in half and form each half into a disc. Wrap separately and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  3. On a floured counter or between two pieces of parchment paper, roll 1 disc out into a circle about 11 inches.
  4. Fit dough into pan, pressing lightly. Cut away the excess dough with a small knife, crimp the edges and refrigerate while you make the filling. 

For the filling

  1.  heat oil and 1 tablespoon butter over medium heat in a frying pan. When butter is sizzling, add sliced onions and cook, stirring frequently, until onions begin to brown. Turn heat down to medium low, add salt and continue to cook slowly until onions are uniformly brown, about 30 to 40 minutes, adding a splash of sherry whenever onions begin to stick to the pan. (You want them to stick to the pan a bit, but loosen them up before they burn.) Once onions are caramelized, pour any remaining sherry into the pan and cook until evaporated. Remove onions from the pan and reserve in a bowl.
  2. Remove morels from their soaking liquid, squeezing them over the bowl to remove excess liquid. Reserve soaking liquid.
  3. Slice mushrooms lengthwise into bite-sized pieces. In the same pan you used for the onions, melt the remaining tablespoon of butter over medium heat. When butter is sizzling, add morels and sauté for about 5 minutes, until morels are aromatic. Add garlic, sauté another two minutes and add soya sauce and half the soaking liquid. (Reserve the remainder for soups or gravy.)
  4. Turn heat to medium high and simmer rapidly until all the liquid has evaporated. Remove mushrooms from heat and cool.
  5. Whisk eggs, cream and pepper together in a measuring cup (makes it easier to pour egg mixture into the crust). Remove quiche crust from fridge. 

Finish

  1. Preheat the oven to 425℉ and place racks in the bottom and middle of the oven.
  2. Sprinkle grated cheddar on the bottom of the quiche crust. Arrange onions evenly over top, and scatter morels over the onions. Pour the egg mixture slowly and evenly into the crust, making sure morels and onions are covered. Scatter the feta over top.
  3. Bake on the bottom rack for 10 minutes at 425℉, then turn heat down to 375℉, move the quiche to the middle rack and bake for a further 25 to 30 minutes, until top and crust are golden and the quiche doesn’t jiggle in the middle.
  4. Remove from the oven and cool on a rack. Wait 10 minutes before cutting. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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