Featured Flavors: Get more from your morels

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Kootenai country is swimming in morels this year. With so many mushrooms available, itís time to find new ways to make them shine.

Morels bring a special earthy flavor to the table that is easy to mask with too much acid or even the tang of a sharp cheese. To really keep the morel flavor at the forefront, keep your dishes simple. Butter, eggs and light cream sauces all allow the natural morel flavors to shine.

Start your day in style with a morel omelet and toast. Sautť your morels in some butter and then use them to fill the omelet with just a little salt and pepper to flavor the eggs. You can add a mild cheese like a mozzarella to give a little more body to the dish.

For any meal you can work them into a creamy gravy. Again, sautť the morels in butter or olive oil first. Then bring together your favorite white gravy recipe, I prefer mine with finely diced onions, cream, a pinch of flour and a splash of sherry. Work the morels in as the gravy comes together. Let it all bubble together while stirring and serve over roast pork or venison and mashed potatoes. This also tastes great over biscuits or toast for breakfast.

If you want to show off with your morels and give them the first-class treatment, make a risotto. This Italian rice dish is time consuming and requires patience to execute properly, but it is so worth it. The key is to add the stock and wine to the rice slowly, in small quantities so that it gets absorbed completely while you are stirring it. Donít try to multi-task here. Keep your eye on the prize and just about any online risotto dish will turn out great with the addition of fresh or rehydrated morels. Be light with the Parmesan cheese though. It can overpower the morels easily and the dish is very rich without much of it. After an amazing morel season like this one, we are all bound to be eating well for a long time to come. Morels are easy to save for later by drying them out completely in a dehydrator or on a black plastic trash bag in the bright sun. Make sure to get them completely dry, and they will keep until next morel season. Happy eating.

Mati Bishop is owner of Aunt Tís Coffee Corner in Libby.

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