I usually steer a wide path around the mushroom bins at Russo’s because they always have an assortment of intriguing fungi, and I’m better off not knowing about it. Mushrooms don’t always sit well with me, to put it mildly, and yet they are one of my favorite things to eat. As expected, my desire to eat them is only heightened by the knowledge that I shouldn’t.
But something told me they would have morels that morning so I had to at least peek. And there they were. It was a small basket, just enough for me and maybe one other person. A person who would be getting all the crappy ones, I thought, as I gently picked them over and clutched the bag close to my heart.
Because I like to plan things well, it happened to be Passover weekend at Russo’s and the lines were excruciating. Plenty of time to come to my senses, but no. Instead, I ran through my intestinal emergency management plan:
1. Benadryl. CHECK
2. Epipen. CHECK
3. Bucket. CHECK
4. 15 gallons of water. CHECK
5. Toilet paper. CHECK
6. Health insurance in good standing. CHECK
There’s never a good time to wager with your intestines. But if there were, I rationalized, Patriot's Day weekend would be one of them. Husband would be home on Monday to pick up my slack. Surely, he wouldn’t find fault with my plan…as long as there was a plate of asparagus in front of him. I can always get my way if I feed him asparagus.
So, I sautéed up those wild mushrooms with asparagus and some shallots in lots of butter and salt. When I tasted the morels, all nutty and earthy and conjuring up only the finest aspects of the forest floor, I knew right then that there would be a price. A severe price to be paid for that kind of pleasure. It was enough to upset the delicate balance of one’s life.
After dinner, I resigned myself to my fate. I knew I had no one to blame but myself. I drank extra water. I may or may not have crossed myself before bed, just in case. But, do you know what? I slept right through the night. No incidents, whatsoever.
Maybe God doesn’t hate me after all.
Sautéed Asparagus and Morels
This is spring on a plate. Yes, it’s a lot of butter. Just go with it.
4 Tbsp. butter
1 shallot, minced
1 bunch asparagus, woody segments snapped off the bottoms, remaining spears cut into 1-inch pieces
¼ lb. fresh morel mushrooms, quickly submerged in cold water, drained, cut in half
Salt and pepper to taste
In a large frying pan over medium heat, melt the butter. When hot, add the shallots, asparagus, and morels, tossing frequently until the asparagus is tender, 8-10 minutes for thick spears. Season with salt and pepper.