Top Five Memorable Morel Dishes of 2015

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.

Nebraska Morels at the Omaha Farmer's Market in Aksarben Village

Nebraska Morels 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

Morel Philly Royale Special at Block 16

Morel Philly Royale Special at Block 16

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!

Block 16 on Urbanspoon


#4: My Man’s Butter-Sauteed Morel Mushrooms

Sauteed Morel Mushrooms

Butter-Sauteed Morel Mushrooms Made By Man

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

Bone Marrow and Morel Mushrooms at Lot 2

Bone Marrow and Morel Mushrooms Special at Lot 2

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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!

Lot 2 Restaurant and Wine Bar on Urbanspoon


#2: Taita’s Morel Mushroom Nigiri

Morel Nigiri at Taita

Morel Mushroom Nigiri at Taita

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

Wagyu Beef and Morel Mushrooms at Taita

Wagyu Beef and Morel Ragout at Taita

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.

Taita on Urbanspoon

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!

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Sauteed Morels Made By Man

I admit that I have morel fever! Every spring, I go gaga for the morel mushrooms. These forest treats are in limited supply for a limited time.

Morel Mushrooms

My man, Brian, and I received a small precious bunch of morel mushrooms from friends, Erin and Richard McArthur. Thank you McArthur’s!!!

In the past, we have cooked butter-fried morel mushrooms. See FoodMeOmaha post, “Butter-Fried Morels Made By Man”. This time, my man sauteed the morel mushrooms with butter.

Sauteed Morels:

Ingredients:

  • Fresh morel mushrooms (approximately 12)
  • 3 tablespoons of unsalted butter
  • Salt and black pepper

Directions:

1. Admire the morel mushrooms.

2. Trim the stalk ends and cut the bigger morels vertically in half.

3. Soak morels in salt water (we soak for about an hour), rinse, and pat dry.

4. On a frying pan, melt butter on medium-high.

Melt Butter for Sauteed Morel Mushrooms

6. When the butter is melted, add the morel mushrooms.

7. Add salt and pepper.

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8. Cook for about 5 minutes or until cooked through with buttery goodness.


Breath in the awesome aroma!

9. Occasionally stir gently.

IMG_8493

Sauteed Morel Mushrooms

10. Serve and enjoy each morel morsel!

IMG_8498

So simple and soooo good… We deliberately rationed the morels! Like Russian roulette (but in a delicious way), we took turns enjoying a morel piece. Every buttery, woodsy mushroom bite was followed by a moment of appreciation.

I now prefer the sauteed version over the fried. The earthy mushrooms shine more without the breading.

FoodMeOmaha Tidbit: Have morel fever? Check out the FoodMeOmaha post, “2015 Morel Sightings at Omaha Restaurants”.

2015 Morel Sightings at Omaha Restaurants

Morel mushrooms have been sighted! These unique, honeycombed-cap beauties have a more woodsy flavor than the common button mushrooms. Morel mushrooms are only available once a year by mother nature.

There are a handful of Omaha restaurants that have morel mushrooms. Get them while they last!


Taita Restaurant

Taita Restaurant is FoodMeOmaha’s top favorite restaurant in town! I continually rave about their sushi and other yummy offerings. I am thrilled that they have morel mushroom specials!

Mushroom Morels at Taita Restaurant

Mushroom Morels at Taita Restaurant

Homemade Pasta w/ Scallops, Scallions, and Morel Mushrooms

Homemade Pasta w/ Cream Sauce, Scallops, and Morel Mushrooms

Homemade Pasta w/ Cream Sauce, Scallops, and Morel Mushrooms
  • Description: Weekend special – Homemade pasta with cream sauce, scallops, and morel mushrooms.
  • Price: $25.00
  • FoodMe YUM Rating: 9 out of 10
  • FoodMe Value Rating: 9 out of 10

I had this special yesterday evening. I was wooed with each bite. The cream sauce was divine, the homemade pasta smooth and comforting, the scallops nicely seared, and the morel mushrooms was woodsy love! I wanted more and almost ordered this dish again!

Morel Mushrooms Broth and Miso Ramen at Taita

Morel Mushroom Broth and Miso Ramen at Taita

Taita serves up ramen on Sunday only (12pm-4pm only). Today, they have morel mushroom and miso ramen!

Taita on Urbanspoon


Dante Ristorante Pizzeria

Dante Ristorante Pizzeria is another favorite restaurant. They have wood-roasted, grass fed NE rib-eye w/ wood roasted morels, nishnabotna spinach & gnocchi and a nettle & ceci bean tortellini w/ wood-roasted morels, squeaky green organics radish, nettle pesto & fried ceci beans. Based on a recent phone call, their supply of morel mushrooms are almost gone!

Morel Mushrooms at Dante Pizzeria

Morel Mushrooms at Dante Pizzeria

Dante Ristorante Pizzeria on Urbanspoon


La Buvette Wine & Grocery

4/26/2015 Update: Morel mushrooms have been sighted at La Buvette in the Old Market! Omaha food writer, Sarah Baker Hansen, recently posted on the Omavore Facebook page: “What I’m eating: an incredibly delicious morel mushroom pizza” at La Buvette.

La Buvette serves up good food in a charming, quaint European-like cafe with exposed brick and walls of wine. Based on a recent call, La Buvette likes to have fun and try different dishes with morel mushrooms. Note based on several past visits, expect slow-paced service.

La Buvette Wine Bar & Delicatessen on Urbanspoon


Block 16

4/27/2015 Update: Block 16 has joined the list of Omaha restaurants with morel mushrooms!

Block 16 is one BIG reason I wished I stilled worked downtown!!! Last year, during the morel mushroom season, they had a different morel lunch special every day. Today, Block 16 has this morel mushroom special…

Miso Morel Burger at Block 16

Miso Morel Burger at Block 16

Hello, beautiful!!! The Miso Morel Burger is composed of the house patty, miso glazed MORELS, cheese, grilled onion, arugula, aioli and sriracha on a brioche bun. I want.

Check out Block 16’s Facebook page for their lunch specials. I wonder what other morel mushroom specials Block 16 will serve. I recommend getting their early. It gets crowded fast since Block 16 is that good.

5/2/2015 Update: Block 16’s special tonight is “MOREL AND LOBSTER RISOTTO. WITH A DUCK EGG AND GRANA PODANA. This is dine in only friends and we’ve only got a couple dozen left. They’ll go quickly and they don’t start until 5 p.m. but its worth it.”

Block 16 on Urbanspoon


V. Mertz

5/2/2015 Update: V. Mertz has posted an Instagram pic of a morel mushroom!

Morel Mushroom at V. Mertz

Morel Mushroom at V. Mertz

V. Mertz is a fine-dining restaurant with fine-tasting food. They have a great ambiance set in the Old Market Passageway. V. Mertz have unique dishes that merge traditional and contemporary styles and different cultural influences. I wonder what they will do with morel mushrooms…

5/4/2015 Update: Check out the goose eggs and morels Instagram pic from V. Mertz!

Goose Eggs and Morels at V. Mertz

Goose Eggs and Morels at V. Mertz

V. Mertz Restaurant on Urbanspoon


Lot 2 Restaurant and Wine Bar

5/3/2015 Update: Lot 2 posted that they have morel mushrooms this weekend!

Morel Mushrooms at Lot 2

Morel Mushrooms at Lot 2

Lot 2 Restaurant & Wine Bar is another favorite restaurant. There is a lot to love at Lot 2 including the charcuterie board and bone marrow. Thus, I had a “woot woot” reaction when I saw Lot 2 has morel mushrooms!

Lot 2 Restaurant and Wine Bar on Urbanspoon


5/6/2015 Update: 
There are more morels sighted at Omaha restaurants including J. Coco, M’s Pub, Dolce, and Kitchen Table!

FoodMeOmaha loves morel mushrooms! I will update this post if there are other morel mushroom sightings at Omaha restaurants. Hopefully, mother nature will be generous this year.

I recommend contacting the restaurant beforehand, if you want to make sure they have morel mushrooms. They go fast!

Butter-Fried Morels Made by Man

My man, Brian, and I were delighted to receive morel mushrooms thanks to our friend, Richard McArthur. Morels have a subtle, delicate woody mushroom taste. They cannot be farmed and only come out once a year for a very short time.

Check out those beauties! Brian transformed the brainy-sponge mushrooms to butter-fried goodness.

Butter Fried Morels:

Ingredients:

  • Fresh morel mushrooms (approximately 30)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup of flour
  • Salt, black pepper, red pepper, paprika, and garlic powder
  • 3/4 stick of butter

Directions:

1. Admire the morels.

2. Trim the stalk ends and cut the bigger morels in half.

3. Soak morels in salt water.

Morel Mushrooms Soaking in Salt Water

Brian explained that the soaking is an important step to eliminate the teenie bugs and dirt in the crevices. These were soaked for about half an hour and then rinsed again

4. Season flour with salt, black pepper, red pepper, paprika, and garlic powder.

5. Whisk two eggs.

6. Dip each morel piece in the beaten egg, then dredge in flour mixture.

7. Heat butter in a skillet. When it is hot, pan-fry the morel mushrooms until golden-brown.

8. Admire the butter-fried morels and enjoy each precious piece!

The butter-fried morels were gobbled up with glee. It had a nice outside crunch, subtle delicate mushroom inside, and buttery goodness throughout.

Once the plate was empty, I immediately said to my man, “I want more morels…”

Morel Sightings at Omaha Restaurants

It’s morel mushroom season! I don’t know where all the morel gold mines are for the picking, BUT I do know the prized mushrooms are being served up at Omaha restaurants.

Below are Omaha restaurants that have morels! The morel sightings at Omaha restaurants were discovered via Facebook and confirmed via recent phone calls to the places. Be aware that they sell out fast and the season is up to mother nature!


801 Chophouse at the Paxton

801 Chophouse is one of my favorite steakhouses in town. I enjoy their prime rib, the great service, and ambiance including the view of the big gold bull statue, parts and all. They have morels to enjoy with your meat of choice. They sold out yesterday but fortunately they have a new batch for today.

801 Chophouse at the Paxton’s Morel Mushrooms

Chophouse 801 at the Paxton’s USDA Prime steak with this seasonal preparation: morel compound butter, grilled ramps, and sauteed morel mushrooms.

801 Chophouse on Urbanspoon


Block 16

Block 16 is a teeny restaurant in downtown Omaha. Daily they have a different morel mushroom special. Past specials include morel Philly, morel burger, morel hot beef, and creamy morel mushroom soup. According to Facebook, their morel dishes won’t stop until the season is over. I wonder what other morel dishes they will have.

(Note that they are open for dinner only on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday and closed on Sunday.)

Block 16 black truffle PCF chicken salad panini wrap. Served with a bowl of creamy morel mushroom soup with crispy potatoes and sautéed morels.

Block 16 morel burger. House patty, oatmeal stout onions, morels, cheese and truffle steak sauce on a sesame bun.

Block 16 on Urbanspoon


The Grey Plume

Grey Plume’s Morel Mushrooms

The Grey Plume is a fine dining restaurant with fine food. The nice staff member I spoke with on the phone shared that they are receiving wonderful batches of morels. The morel dishes will vary day to day. Today they have “sauteed mushrooms with great texture and great profile.”

Check out the FoodMeOmaha story, “The Grey Plume’s National Rainier Cherry Day Dinner.” If TGP’s application of the morel mushrooms is as good as their rainier cherries, then you will not be disappointed!

The Grey Plume on Urbanspoon


J. Coco

J. Coco has morel mushrooms that can be added to any dish on the menu. The morels are made simply with sea salt and butter. I am salivating for all-star morels! Check out a past dining experience at J. Coco on the FoodMeOmaha story, “All-Star Dinner at J. Coco“.

5/15/2013 Update: I went to J. Coco today for an early dinner and they were out of morel mushrooms as of Monday according to the waiter! Tragedy. No forecasts on whether they will get more or not.

J. Coco’s Morel Mushrooms

J. Coco on Urbanspoon


Lot 2 Restaurant and Wine Bar

Lot 2 Restaurant and Wine Bar has morels as well! I got the inside scoop that they currently have 12 batch orders left. Lot 2 is serving morel mushrooms sautéed in white wine with garlic, shallots, and thyme for $12. Sounds yummy!

I know that there is a lot to love at Lot 2. Check out past FoodMeOmaha posts, “In Love with Lot 2” and “A Lot 2 Love at Lot 2“.

Lot 2 Restaurant and Wine Bar on Urbanspoon

These are all great restaurants in town that have morel mushrooms! Get ’em while they last! I know I will.

5/15/2013 Update: The Boiler Room Restaurant and Dante Ristorante Pizzeria have morels too! Today, Boiler Room is featuring sauteed morels with their plum creek chicken entree. According to Facebook, Dante has “locally foraged morel & 600 day aged prosciutto pizza on the menu tonight (the prosciutto is aged for 600 days not the pizza just to be clear).”

Note I recommend calling the restaurants beforehand to make sure they still have morels available.