Filson Food: Field to Table Morel Mushroom & Ricotta Appetizer

Halved morel mushrooms on top of bread with ricotta spread and herbs on a blue plate

As snow melts off mountain peaks, and yellow balsamroot bloom in valleys below, it’s time to take to the woods where an elusive delicacy of the season awaits. Introducing the morel mushroom. Morels are among the most beloved of our wild fungi.

Where to find morels?

For your best shot at sleuthing out morels, take a vernal hike on the sunny eastern slope of the Cascades and scour subalpine forests of pine and fir. Remember to wear your mushroom goggles because morels will hide right in plain sight!

A bonanza of morels sometimes occurs in the aftermath of wildfire, for reasons little understood by science. When it happens, this flush of so-called burn morels is a sight to see, with mushrooms sometimes carpeting forest floor. Pick your way carefully through the charred woods looking for the fungi that are part of the forest’s natural regeneration.

morel mushrooms cooking in a small cast iron pan

How to cook your bounty.

The hunt is only half the fun. There’s nothing better after a day of bushwhacking than cooking up your catch. Morels have an earthy flavor that’s hard to describe. They’re smoky, meaty, and full of that fifth flavor known as umami. They’re also fleeting. When morel mushrooms are popping, connoisseurs will drop everything to spend a day in the mountain woods in search of this brief springtime treat.

For such excursions, I like to pack my camp stove plus a few simple ingredients to make a quick al fresco meal to remember. All you need is garlic, butter, and a fresh baguette. Add a bottle of wine and ricotta cheese to elevate this trailside snack into something truly special for you and your hunting companions.

• At least a 1/2 lb of fresh Morels – if you can’t find fresh ones, reconstituted mushrooms will work fine.
• 2 Cloves Garlic, peeled and minced
• 1 Tbsp Butter or Olive Oil
• 1 medium sized Baguette or Crostini, thinly sliced
• 1 tub Ricotta Cheese
• Salt and Pepper
• Handful Fresh Herbs (optional) – we recommend thyme
Note: Approximately 2 oz of dried morels will make about 1/2 lb reconstituted. Morel mushrooms must be cooked. Do not consume raw!


1. Heat butter or olive oil in a pan over medium flame. Add minced garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 20 seconds, being careful not to let it burn.

garlic toasting in oil on a small cast iron pan

2. Add chopped morels and stir to coat. Cook mushrooms several minutes, stirring occasionally, until they release their liquid and begin to brown slightly at the edges. Season with salt and pepper.

morel mushrooms cooking in a small cast iron pan

3. While morels are cooking, slice baguette and slather each slice with ricotta cheese, which helps to anchor the mushrooms.

ricotta being spread on a slice of bread by a serrated knife

4. Spoon morel mushrooms onto sliced baguette. Top with a pinch of salt and a scattering of herbs such as thyme or tarragon, if available, and enjoy the earthy goodness with a sip of wine. This is how to commemorate a fine spring day in the woods!

spooning morel mushrooms onto a slice of bread held by a person's hand