Foraged Recipes

Recipe: Morel mushroom pâté

Recipe: Morel mushroom pâté thumbnail
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If you’re looking for a delicious easy-to-make morel mushroom recipe, you’ve come to the right place… Morel mushroom pâté might be the best morel mushroom recipe we’ve ever made. It’s also surprisingly simple to make. Read on to find out how! 


A morel recipe a decade in the making

This recipe is 10+ years in the making. Our morel foraging friend, Evan, made morel mushroom pâté for us back around 2010, and we’ve all been tweaking the recipe every morel season since. 

This particular pâté iteration (in the recipe card below) was a huge hit at my mom’s and aunt’s 75th birthday party. (They have the same birthday and were born hours apart in the same year.) After taking my mom out for a late-season morel hunt, we had enough mushrooms to make a large batch of pâté. 

Everyone wolfed down the pâté and gave it rave reviews so we knew it was time to share the recipe with you, dear reader. 

Morel mushroom pâté. You're going to love this one!

Morel mushroom pâté. You’re going to love this one!

What type of morel is best for morel pâté? 

As we detail in our article How to find morel mushrooms in the southeast US, there are many different species of morels throughout North America and within our bioregion. 

Large, early season “blond” morels (Morchella esculenta) are our favorites simply because of their size and thickness. Later-season “tulip” morels (likely M. virginianaM. diminutiva, M. sceptriformis, and others) are much smaller. 

Different types of morels we find in Upstate South Carolina - larger blond morels (early season) and tulip morels (later season). Blond or yellow morels versus tulip morels.

Different types of morels we find in Upstate South Carolina – larger blond morels (early season) and smaller tulip morels (later season).

While we can’t tell a difference in flavor between various species of morels, perhaps someone with a more discerning palate can. 

Bottom line: any type of morel can make a darn good pâté, even if there might be small degrees of flavor differences between the species.

Quantity of morels is most important for getting this recipe right! 

For this recipe, more important than the type of morels you use is the quantity of morels used.

“4 cups of morels” is only so helpful – does that mean you stack a few huge blond morels in a measuring cup? What if you have dozens of small tulip morels? 

For this recipe, we used about 4 cups of small, fresh (not dried) tulip morels, measured uncut. However, we also used a kitchen scale to get a precise fresh weight of 6.6 ounces. When making this recipe, we’d suggest you also measure the weight of your morels if at all possible. 

After weighing them, we recommend rinsing your morels in cold water under a faucet to to remove any dirt/grit. Grit in your morel pâté will make eating unpleasant. 

What if you’re using dried morels? 

Mushrooms (including morels) are about 90% water by weight, perhaps a little more if there have been recent heavy rains. If you’re using dried morels to make this recipe, you’d want to weigh out about 0.66 ounces of morels.

Then you’d reconstitute them in water (or white wine) and add the mushrooms plus the water/wine to the pan at the starting point. (You end up cooking all the liquid out before making the cooked morels into pâté.) 

Other important recipe notes:

1. Toasted walnuts

If you toss fresh walnuts into the blender when making this pâté, you’ll end up with ok results. But not great. 

Instead, you want to put the walnuts in a pan with a tablespoon of butter and toast them for about 5 minutes over medium heat, tossing and turning them with a spatula as you go. The toasting process brings out richer, more nuanced flavors in the walnuts that really enriches the final morel mushroom pâté.  

You want your walnuts toasted, not burned.

You want your walnuts toasted, not burned.

Why walnuts? They’re a relatively neutral-flavored nut that doesn’t overpower the subtle flavor of the morel mushrooms. 

2. Fresh thyme is best

We highly recommend using fresh thyme. It just tastes better than dried. 

Fresh thyme

Fresh thyme, de-stemmed.

However, dried thyme will work in a pinch. Instead of 2 tbsp fresh thyme use 2 tsp dried thyme. 

3. Wine type

Our friend Evan recommends using Madeira or Marsala when making morel pâté. However, we use any decent white wine we have available, and you can do the same. 

In fact, the morel pâté that received rave reviews in this article was made from a good Prosecco that went flat in our fridge.   

4. Fresh lemon juice

We highly recommend using fresh lemon juice for the best, brightest flavor. We used late-season Meyer lemons from our potted trees (the best-tasting lemon variety in our opinion), but other lemon varieties will do. 

Lemon juice from concentrate will do in a pinch, but won’t be quite as good as fresh. 

5. Real Parmigiano-Reggiano, finely grated  

Most grocery store parmesan isn’t the real thing. The real thing is Parmigiano-Reggiano, aka the “king of cheeses,” made in Italy under exacting standards based on hundreds of years of collective experience. 

We used 2.7 ounces or 1 packed cup of finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese for this recipe. Don’t you dare use the pre-grated “parm” in a plastic jar when making this recipe or we’ll unfriend you. 

5. Cool the ingredients BEFORE blending

If you put hot/warm walnuts and morels into the blender with your parm, you’ll end up melting your cheese and having the wrong consistency in your morel pâté. 

Morels finishing cooking in a cast iron pan on our stovetop. Once the water is almost finished cooking out, you'll start getting some pops as the remaining liquid is sent fleeing by the hot butter. That means you're 1-2 minutes from being done with the morels, but you'll need to cool them to at least room temperature before blending with cheese and other ingredients.

Morels finishing cooking in a cast iron pan on our stovetop. Once the water is almost finished cooking out, you’ll start getting some pops as the remaining liquid is sent fleeing by the hot butter. That means you’re 1-2 minutes from being done with the morels, but you’ll need to cool them to at least room temperature before blending with cheese and other ingredients.

Instead, bring those ingredients to room temp before blending. You can expedite this process by giving them an ice bath or sticking them in the fridge. 

6. Presentation 

Morel pâté is not beautiful. The word pâté means paste in French, and that’s an apt description of the consistency. And with a tan-brown color, this ugly duckling needs you to add some attractive plumage prior to presentation. 

Thankfully, there are abundant edible wild flowers to be found during morel season. We used:

  • yellow wood sorrel flowers and leaves (lemony flavor),
  • purple viola flowers (mild wintergreen flavor), and
  • white/green accented Solomon’s seal flowers (honey-asparagus flavor).    

(Related recipe: Solomon’s seal & hosta shoots with honey-mustard pecan butter sauce)

7. Serving temperature

Traditional pâté is served chilled. We served ours at room temperature immediately after making it and it was delicious. The small amount left over in the fridge was also wonderful. We’re not purists here: either room temp or chilled morel mushroom pâté is fine.   

Recipe: Morel mushroom pâté

Morel mushroom pâté garnished with viola flowers, wood sorrel (flowers and greens), Solomon's seal flowers, and lemon zest.

Morel mushroom pâté garnished with viola flowers, wood sorrel (flowers and greens), Solomon’s seal flowers, and lemon zest.

Recipe: Morel mushroom pate.
Print

Morel mushroom pâté

Course: Appetizer, Side Dish
Cuisine: American, French
Keyword: Morel mushroom pâté, morel mushroom recipe, mushroom pâté, vegetarian pâté
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 6
Author: Aaron von Frank

Morel mushroom pâté is a delicious, easy-to-make morel mushroom recipe full of rich, earthy umami flavors that will have you craving more!

Ingredients

  • 4 cups fresh morels (weight 6.6 ounces)  (See notes in article if using dried morels)
  • 1 cup walnuts, toasted
  • 1 cup packed, freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (2.7 ounces)
  • 1/3 cup good white wine  (alt direction: Madeira or Marsala)
  • 1/3 cup unsalted grass-fed organic butter (for cooking morels)
  • 1 tbsp unsalted grass-fed organic butter (for toasting walnuts)
  • 2 tbsp fresh thyme leaves 
  • 2 garlic cloves, diced
  • 1/4 tsp salt or more to taste during blending
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • fresh seasonal flowers as garnish (optional)

Instructions

  1. Rinse morel mushrooms under cold water to remove dirt and grit. Prep other fresh ingredients (thyme, garlic, lemon juice) and finely grate cheese.

  2. Toast walnuts with 1 tbsp butter over medium heat for about 5 minutes, frequently turning and stirring nuts with a spatula to ensure they toast but don't burn. Remove from heat and cool to room temp (or put in fridge to speed cooling).

  3. Put morel mushroom, butter, thyme, garlic, and salt in pan over medium heat. Cook for 15-20 minutes until all water has been cooked out. You'll know you're close when the remaining water starts popping in the hot, melted butter. Remove from heat and let cool to room temp. (Or scrape into bowl and put in ice bath for faster cooling.)

  4. Use a multi-blade blender to blend toasted walnuts. Then add morels and blend. Then add grated parm and blend. Finally, add lemon juice and blend one final time to ensure all ingredients fully blended into paste. Scrape and re-blend and unblended chunks from sides and bottom of blender with a spatula between blending. Taste and add more salt if needed.

    Garnish with seasonal edible flowers and serve immediately at room temp or refrigerate and serve chilled later. Serve with crackers, toasted bread, and/or as part of charcuterie board.

    Can last in the fridge (in airtight container) for at least one week.

We hope you love morel mushroom pâté as much as we do and look forward to this seasonal, forest-to-table treat every morel season! 

KIGI,

Tyrantfarms

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