“This savory version of the Dutch baby, sometimes known as the German pancake, is golden and crispy at the edges, yet tender and “eggy” in the middle. Use fresh morels when available in spring, but dried mushrooms work, too.”
— Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley, Food for Hunters
When to look for morels
Morels are fickle, requiring conditions to be just right before making their grand debut in spring. Some seasons are long, while others are disappointingly short. In any given location, year-to-year variability in weather and ground conditions makes predicting the beginning and length of the morel season difficult. Experts generally agree that favorable daytime temperatures for morels fall between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit, while nighttime temperatures should hover around 40 degrees. However, soil temperature is equally important: The earth must hold 50 degrees for a week before morels will pop. Morels prefer moist, well-drained soils and are encouraged by spring rains followed by warm, sunny days. When the air and soil temperatures are right, and there is precipitation, plan to look for mushrooms in the following days. Morel mushrooms do not fare well in either dry or excessively wet conditions.
Servings: 2 or 3
8 ounces of fresh morel mushrooms
3 tablespoons of butter, separated
2 large shallots, thinly sliced
Splash of whisky
Kosher salt and pepper, to taste
4–6 ounces of goat cheese, sliced
Grated Parmesan cheese, to taste
6 large eggs
1½ cups of milk
1¾ cup of all-purpose flour
Zest of 2 lemons
1 teaspoon of kosher salt
2 tablespoons of minced chives, plus extra
¼ teaspoon of cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon of white pepper
3 tablespoons of salted butter
1. In a medium to large bowl, combine flour, lemon zest, salt, chives, cayenne pepper and white pepper. In another bowl, whisk together eggs and milk. Pour three-quarters of the egg mixture into the dry ingredients and stir until there are no lumps. Stir in remaining egg mixture until smooth. Allow batter to rest 30 minutes on the counter.
2. Over medium-high heat, heat 2 tablespoons of butter in a skillet and brown morel mushrooms and shallot until golden, stirring occasionally. Brown mushrooms in batches if needed—crowding the pan will prevent browning. Add a splash of whisky and cook until nearly evaporated. Remove pan from heat and toss in another tablespoon of butter. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and set aside.
3. Move oven rack to the lower-middle position. Spray a 12-inch cast iron pan, especially the edges, and melt 3 tablespoons of butter over the stove. Get the pan nicely heated. Pour in batter and immediately move the pan into the cold oven. Turn the oven to 375° Fahrenheit. Bake Dutch baby for 30 to 35 minutes, or until edges rise and turn golden, and middle is set.
4. Slice Dutch baby and serve immediately with shallot and mushroom mixture, goat cheese, Parmesan and extra minced chives on top. I enjoy it with a peppery arugula mix salad on the side.