|Seared walleye with morel sauce and asparagus; Breezy Point Resort's marina.
Morels are like crocuses you can eat. These intensely flavored wild mushrooms with caps like little brains pop up in springtime as a sign of the end of a long winter’s cold—especially in Minnesota, where the morel was designated the state mushroom in 1984.
Morels cannot be cultivated, at least not with the same deep flavor they develop in the forest. Stores may carry them dried or frozen, but you only get the supple texture and bosky flavor in springtime, when they’re fresh. In Minnesota, you can hunt for them in the woods (consult minnesotamushrooms.org to make sure they’re suitable for eating) or at farmers markets. Minnesotans like their morels breaded and deep-fried, or simply sautéed in butter. To double your pleasure, track down some local walleye to serve with a morel sauce. If you can’t find this meaty white fish, try halibut or striped bass.
Seared Walleye with Morel Sauce
¾ lb. fresh morels
3 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 large clove garlic, chopped
3 shallots, minced
½ cup dry white wine or
½ cup chicken or beef stock
1 cup heavy cream
Salt and freshly ground black
pepper to taste
4 fillets walleye, about
5 oz. each
Salt and pepper to taste
Flour for dusting
4 tbsp. extra-virgin
For sauce, dunk morels in cold water to remove grit; drain well. If they’re large, cut in half vertically. Melt butter in skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and shallots and cook, stirring, 2–3 minutes. Lower heat, add morels and continue cooking and stirring for 5 minutes. Raise heat, add wine or vermouth and cook, stirring, until liquid cooks away. Stir in stock and cook until it is absorbed. Stir in cream, lower heat and simmer until sauce thickens slightly. Remove from heat and keep warm.
Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Season fish with salt and pepper, dredge lightly in flour. Cook 3 minutes, flip over and cook 1–4 minutes longer, depending on thickness. Transfer to plates. Season sauce with salt and pepper as needed and spoon over fish. Serves four.
RCI-affiliated resorts in Minnesota include:
WHITEBIRCH AT BREEZY POINT RESORT
On the shores of Pelican Lake, with two 18-hole
golf courses, an indoor pool, and full kitchens in
all units. 9252 Breezy Point Dr., Breezy Point
BREEZY POINT TIMESHARE
Also on Pelican Lake, with fireplaces in all units.
The resort has a hot tub and indoor pool.
30199 County Rd. 11, Breezy Point
For more information,
visit RCI.com or call
Club Members, please
call your specific
or RCI telephone number.
NON-RCI AFFILIATED RESORTS:
MADDENS RESORT ON GULL LAKE
11266 Pine Beach Peninsula Rd., Brainerd;
218-829-2811; maddens.com; doubles from
$179 per night (reopens April 26, 2011)
AMERICINN LODGE & SUITES OF PEQUOT LAKES
32912 Paul Bunyan Trail Dr., Pequot Lakes;
888-568-8400; upnorthlodge.com; doubles
from $80 per night
NOTE: Information may have changed since publication. Please confirm key details before planning your trip.