Essential ingredients: morels and wild garlic
Author: Berry Bros. & Rudd
On the plate: I don’t feel that spring has finally sprung or is at least in sight, until the arrival of wild garlic. Normally starting at the end of February or early March, it’s a forager’s dream and most British woodlands will be heady with the smell of garlic – a little disconcerting so far from a kitchen.
Morels are another spring treat and no two ingredients epitomise the season like morels and wild garlic; they go together like the proverbial horse and carriage. Great as a dish on their own or as a garnish to meat or fish dishes, during the season these flavoursome mushrooms rarely leave the menu at Berry Bros. & Rudd.
In the glass: Of the myriad signposts to spring found on country walks this time of year, few are as distinctively aromatic as wild garlic. Unfortunately, morels are a little harder to find; though no less symbolic. It’s tempting to select some correspondingly spring-like wines, but there are lots of rich elements to this dish.
Mushrooms often lead me towards the Marsanne/Roussanne-based whites of the Rhône Valley and southern France. There are rich pickings to be found in Spain, such as a subtly oak-aged white Rioja, but if you want to keep it classic you won’t go wrong with a richer style of Chablis. The key is to deliver sufficient richness while keeping a streak of freshening elegance to leave the palate, and indeed the soul, refreshed.
This is a versatile dish that works as well for a mid-week supper or light lunch as it does for a starter or an accompaniment to meat or fish – just scale the ingredients accordingly. You can cook the potato part, spoon into small dishes then top with the egg and bake to make individual ones, which is how we serve this dish for dinners at No.3 St James’s Street.
- 600g potatoes – peeled and cut into 1cm dice
- 2 onions – peeled and finely sliced
- 6 sprigs of thyme – picked and chopped
- 200g wild garlic – torn
- 300g morels – washed and sliced into rings
- 6 eggs
- 2 tbsp parsley – chopped
- 50g Parmesan – grated
- Sourdough – to serve (optional)
Preheat the oven to 190˚C. Put the potatoes in a roasting tray. Drizzle with a good splash of olive oil and mix to coat, then stir in the thyme leaves. Cook for 15 minutes, turning every so often. Once they have started to brown nicely, add the onion and cook for a further 10 minutes. Stir in the torn garlic leaves and return to the oven for five minutes, letting the garlic leaves wilt and char at the ends.
Make six wells in the potato mix and crack in the eggs; then season with salt and pepper. Bake for four or five minutes, until the egg whites are set. While the eggs are cooking, fry the morels over a high heat in a good splash of olive oil. Once they have started to brown, add a knob of butter and season to taste. Once the eggs are cooked, scatter over the morels and finish with the Parmesan and parsley. Serve with some freshly toasted sourdough.