Help: Morel mushrooms
It seems to be morel season, as they have popped up on a few menus here in Alexandria. I have seen them at Rustico (in the Morel and Leek tart, which had about 2 little morels atop some heavy cream in a pie crust for $15... ) and at the new Italian place in Del Ray, La Strada, which unfortunately has them in a veal dish, which I don't eat.
So: does anyone know where I could buy morels (no luck at Whole Foods or MOMs) or of other restaurants featuring them?
Seems to late in the season for them. I'm originally from Missouri and the season there is May. Generally we share the same seasons here with Mid-Missouri.
Are you sure that what you've seen aren't dried reconstituted morels?
While this thread is going, though, has anyone had luck finding any themselves? I've half heartedly looked around Reston's woods and also out near Madison, but I never have heard anyone say anything about finding them out here. I know they're supposed to grow, but in Missouri it becomes something just short of a fully licensed hunting season (guns *may* sometimes be used - and not on the morels!)
Morel season around here starts in mid- to late-April and runs until early June. You can usually find them for sale if you show up early at the local farmers' markets. The large chains like Wegmans and Whole Foods have them in-season too.
While they aren't as prodigious as the ones hunted in Missouri, (where the season happily coincides with spring turkey hunting season, and from recent first-hand experience I can tell you that fresh turkey and fresh morels are a great combination!) there are morels to be found locally in the woods especially around tulip poplars. Believe it or not, there's even a chatroom: http://www.morels.com/maryland/ but don't expect anybody to give you exact locations!
The local season is over and finishes most years by June, for fellow hunters I say go west young man, the foothills and mountains of the mid-atlantic produce mushrooms of the highest quality I've seen in the US. The mushrooms are still being found on a limited basis in the pacific north west and Alaska and may stil be availible on line, but are of average quality at best. Dried are of course availible and very good. Local wild mushrooms in season now include the Russulas,Boletes (think Porcini-ish), and the very tasty Milk Caps as well as the ever popular Chantrelle