Looking for a morel mushroom recipe with other delectable seasonal accoutrements? Morel mushrooms with stinging nettle pasta & poached duck eggs is one of the best (and most beautiful) things you’ll ever eat — and it can be made surprisingly quickly!
Stinging nettle pasta – or substitute?
This recipe builds off of our duck egg stinging nettle pasta made with organic white whole wheat flour. If you don’t have or feel like making our stinging nettle pasta, no worries: just use your favorite fettuccine noodles.
However, we’d highly encourage you make stinging nettle pasta to help take this recipe to the next level. It’s not just delicious, it’s also beautifully colored and highly nutritious.
No pressure… Ok, maybe just a little bit!
What other ingredients do you need to make this morel recipe?
Other than fettuccine-style noodles, here are some other essential ingredients you’ll need for this recipe:
1. Morel mushrooms – plus how to clean & prep them
We use a combination of small “tulip” morels and “blond” morels in this recipe, the two types we find in South Carolina in early spring. However, any type of morel will do, preferably fresh.
(See: How to find morel mushrooms in the southeast US.)
To make sure your morels don’t have dirt, grit, or creepy crawlies in them, give the caps a quick rinse under cold water. Then cut them in half to make sure there’s nothing living in the hollow centers. Quickly rinse the insides under cold water if necessary.
No, giving morel mushrooms a quick rinse in cold water won’t diminish their flavor. Soaking might, but there’s no need to soak a morel mushroom.
And since nothing ruins a good mushroom meal faster than biting into sand and grit, rinsing freshly foraged morels is a good idea.
Lastly, we recommend cutting your morels into roughly uniform size for the best final presentation. We cut our small morels in half and quartered our large morels.
2. Good parmesan cheese
We use a high quality, freshly grated Parmesan cheese for this recipe. Try to find a good parm.
And finely grate or microplane the parm yourself for the best flavor rather than buying pre-grated cheese. Morels are a subtle, mild flavor and you don’t want to overpower them with too much cheese or by using types of cheese that are too intensely flavored.
3. Lemon zest and a splash of fresh juice
We’re lucky enough to still have a few super-ripe Meyer lemons on our potted citrus trees. We think Meyer lemons are the best lemon variety when it comes to juice and zest.
If you can get an organically grown Meyer lemon for this recipe, we highly recommend it. Another type of lemon will do too.
4. Seasonal flowers, fresh thyme, hardneck garlic
One of the many botanical indicators of morel mushroom season in our area is blooming redbud flowers (Cercis canadensis). These also happen to be a good edible flower, and their beautiful pink-purple color really adds visual interest and brightens up this dish.
Don’t have redbud flowers? Use other edible flowers. For some potential ideas, see our article 16 incredible edible wild flowers.
If possible, also use a tablespoon of fresh thyme leaves. If all you have is dried thyme, note that dried thyme is much more intense so only use a teaspoon.
We’re also a big fan of hardneck garlic vs softneck varieties common in grocery stores. If you can, use it here. (See: Why & how to grow hardneck garlic.)
5. Poached duck eggs
We can think of no better way to finish off this dish than with poached duck eggs. Yes, we’re biased since we raise ducks, but duck eggs are demonstrably better than chicken eggs. They’re larger (and their yolks are larger), tastier, and more nutritious than chicken eggs.
(See: Duck eggs vs chicken eggs – how do they compare?)
“Poaching” is a cooking method that’s: a) surprisingly simple to do, and b) surprisingly underutilized by home cooks due to its perceived difficulty. Don’t worry, if you can fry or scramble an egg, you can poach an egg, including a duck egg.
Rather than reinventing the wheel here, if you don’t know how to poach a perfect egg, check out our article How to poach duck and goose eggs to perfection.
Everything she says about poaching chicken eggs can be applied to duck eggs. Yes, that includes the recommended 3 minute poaching time even though duck eggs and yolks are slightly larger. You can go a bit longer if you prefer a less runny yolk, but anything beyond 3:30 on a duck egg yields an over-cooked yolk.
You’ll be cooking three things separately, then putting them together. To help you coordinate cooking/timing, here’s about how long each part of this recipe will take to cook:
- Noodles – Our stinging nettle pasta noodles take about 10 minutes to cook if used fresh. If dried, allow another 5 minutes. If using your own noodles, note the cook time on the package.
- Morels – The morels will take about 12-15 minutes to cook.
- Poached duck eggs – Each duck egg will take about 3 minutes to cook. You can put them all in the same pot of water to cook at the same time, but the most attractive poached eggs are made individually dropped into the middle of a lightly spinning water vortex. You can put a finished poached egg right on the dish or give it an immediate ice bath to arrest cooking if not serving immediately.
When making this dish, two of us teamed up to make all three parts of this recipe at the same time so they finished together. (We also had a hangry toddler to feed, so time was of the essence.)
Recipe: Morel mushrooms with stinging nettle pasta, seasonal flowers, and poached duck eggs
Morel mushrooms with stinging nettle pasta and poached duck eggs
A delectable pasta dish featuring morel mushrooms, stinging nettle pasta, edible flowers, and poached duck eggs.
- 2.8 ounces fresh morel mushrooms
- 1 duck egg per person, poached (See notes and references in article about how to poach a duck egg.)
- 1 tbsp freshly diced thyme leaves
- 1 tbsp diced garlic
- zest of 1/2 Meyer lemon
- juice from 2 slices of Meyer lemon, or to taste
- 2.5 tbsp unsalted butter (recommend organic grass-fed)
- 1/4 cup white wine
- fresh seasonal flowers to desired look or taste (we used about 1/4 cup redbud flowers)
- 1/4 cup fresh-grated Parmesan cheese (ideally microplaned)
- 2 servings, fettuccine-style noodles (we recommend our duck egg stinging nettle pasta noodles!)
- 1/4 tsp salt, for morels (or to taste)
- 1 shot glass of white vinegar for poached egg water (this small amount does not affect the flavor of the egg)
- cracked pepper to taste or as garnish
- 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil to prevent finished noodles from sticking together (optional)
As noted in article, we recommend timing all three parts of this dish so they finish around the same time:
Add butter to pre-heated pan over slightly-less-than-medium heat. Once butter melted, add morels and thyme. Let cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring regularly with a spatula. Then add wine, garlic, and salt. Cook for another 5+ minutes, stirring regularly with spatula, until wine has fully evaporated/been absorbed by morels and garlic starts to brown. Remove from heat.
Add some salt to water and bring to boil. Cook noodles to desired consistency. If using our fresh stinging nettle fettuccine-style noodles, cook time will be about 10 minutes.
Strain noodles, put back in pan with a bit of olive oil. Stir in olive oil (to prevent sticking) then add noodles to morel pan and mix morel and pasta ingredients together along with fresh lemon juice and grated parmesan cheese. Garnish with seasonal flowers, fresh lemon zest, and cracked pepper (or mix them into the dish).
Poach each duck egg as per instructions and references in article. Recommend 3 minute cook time per duck egg. If not serving immediately, transfer eggs from hot water to ice bath (to arrest cooking) then strain and set aside until serving. Place poached egg atop each serving and cut to one side where you want yolk to run out. Serve.
Now you have another delicious recipe to look forward to each morel season: morel mushrooms with stinging nettle pasta & poached duck eggs. Enjoy!
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