As evident in past FoodMeOmaha blog posts and social media (Facebook, Instagram and Twitter), I am an avid fan of morel mushrooms. I love it so much that I bought morels for a steep $40 a pound from these guys at the Omaha Farmer’s Market in Aksarben Village.
My morel mushroom madness is justified! Here are my top five memorable morel dishes of 2015 from great to greatest:
#5: Block 16’s Morel Philly Royale Special
My man, Brian, emailed me, “Did you see Block 16‘s lunch special?!?!” I immediately went to Block 16’s Facebook page and saw the above and read “Morel Philly Royale today! Shaved steak, provolone, grilled onion, truffle aioli and local MORELS on a sourdough roll. Won’t last long, get down here!!!”
My reaction: Think Homer Simpson’s head tilted, eyes rolled back, mouth agape, tongue out, and drooling. Since I work out west and couldn’t make it, Brian saved the day and got me one to-go! I was lucky. They ran out of their special soon after opening.
The re-heated version was satisfyingly good. I enjoy Block 16’s regular Philly sandwiches. It is even better with the morel mushrooms. The morels picked up the savory meat flavor. While I know the Morel Philly Royale was not at its prime freshly-made state, I was happy!
#4: My Man’s Butter-Sauteed Morel Mushrooms
I adore the homemade butter-sauteed morel mushrooms made by Brian. See the FoodMeOmaha post, “Butter-Sauteed Morels Made by Man“. This dish is simple, yet, sooo goood!
On another occasion, Brian made this morel dish for close friends, Maude and Joen Moreno. The Morenos were delighted and we were delighted to share the food experience with them.
Maude: “On my first bite, the texture, the oily moisture, how it just melted in my mouth… It was like wanting to delay my chewing just so this piece of heaven does not disappear down my throat. I wanted to savor every bit of it! So good and so unforgettable!”
Food is even better when shared with peeps we care about!
#3: Lot 2’s Bone Marrow and Morel Mushrooms
Lot 2 Restaurant and Wine Bar has my favorite bone marrow in town. Therefore, when I discovered Lot 2 had bone marrow AND MORELS, I had another Homer Simpson drooling moment on repeat. The roasted bone marrow is divine, indulgent goodness elevated to new heights with the morel mushrooms. The morels were sauteed in a lovely sauce of shallots, garlic, thyme, lemon, white wine, butter, salt, and pepper.
The bone marrow and morels are a dynamic duo! Brian and I were either sighing, moaning, or pausing in silence over the bone marrow and morels. My taste buds thanked Chef Joel Mahr and staff of Lot 2!
#2: Taita’s Morel Mushroom Nigiri
Holy morel nigiri at Taita Restaurant! The morel mushroom is honored in this dish. The woodsy mushroom is the featured star accented by a dark salty and sweet sauce, scallions, and neutral, compact rice.
Chef/Owner Jose Dionicio of Taita: “We slightly marinated morel in soy and dashi, then proceed to grill them finish them off to brush them with a nikiri sauce which contains hints of sake, soy and more dashi.”
This finely executed nigiri is a marvelous, woodsy-pure bite!!!
#1: Taita’s Wagyu Beef and Morel Ragout
FoodMeOmaha and Brian are frequent visitors at Taita since this is our top favorite restaurant in town. On a recent visit, Brian and I ordered our usual $60 omakase per person for dinner. The omakase is a great food experience. Chef Jose creates a series of courses of his choosing including sushi, hot dishes, and dessert. Our omakase journey hit a pinnacle with the wagyu beef and morel ragout! I was an ecstatic school girl when I feasted my eyes on this glorious course!
The wagyu beef was a savory, melt-in-your-mouth, beautiful moment. The exquisite salt added the extra edge! Chef Jose explained that the morels is a take on a classical ragout. Sauteed onions, wine and a hint of soy were involve in the making of it. The morel mushrooms was an oh-my-freaking-amazing, woodsy love immersed in a velvety sauce with roasted garlic cloves… Oh yeah…
This dish was superbly executed and zealously enjoyed.
This concludes my morel mushroom madness for this year!
For a different perspective, here is Brian’s top five from great to greatest:
- #5 Block 16’s Morel Philly Royale
- #4: His’ Butter-Sauteed Morel Mushrooms
- #3 Taita’s Morel Mushroom Nigiri
- #2: Lot 2’s Bone Marrow and Morel Mushrooms
- #1: Taita’s Wagyu Beef and Morel Ragout
FoodMeOmaha had several memorable morel mushroom dishes (including others not mentioned) in 2015. Greedy MorelMeOmaha wants more morels! Next year, I foresee morel mushroom hunting in addition to the eating!