Belonging to the same fungus species as the truffle, the morel is an edible wild mushroom. Its spongy, honeycombed, cone-shape cap ranges in size from 2 to 4 inches high and in color from a rich tan to an extremely dark brown. The morel is widely applauded by gourmets, who savor its smoky, earthy, nutty flavor. In general, the darker the mushroom the stronger the flavor. Wild morels usually appear in specialty produce markets in April and the season can last through June. Cultivated morels may appear sporadically throughout the year. Choose fresh specimens that have a firm yet spongy texture. Imported canned morels can be found in gourmet markets year-round. Dried morels have a more intense, smokier flavor than fresh ones and have the advantage of being available year-round. The marvelous flavor of the morel needs little embellishment and this mushroom is best when simply sautéed in butter. See also mushroom.
From The Food Lover's Companion, Fourth edition by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst. Copyright © 2007, 2001, 1995, 1990 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.