Writer Jeff Koehler went on a hunt for the true flavors of Morocco when he traveled the country in search of wild (and delicious) mushrooms. Looking to find your own mushroom bliss? Here, eight ways to forge for them around the world. Or, follow Jeff Koehler’s lead to Chefchaouen, Morocco’s most colorful town. Here, the story behind the indigo city and where to stay and dine while you’re there.
But you don’t need to go to Morocco to get a taste of the cuisine. These two recipes give you the best of the Moroccan ‘shroom right at home.
Rif Mountain Omelet with Wild Mushrooms (pictured above)
As the omelets need to be individually cooked, instructions below are given for a single wide, thin omelet. If preparing more than one, sauté the mushrooms by variety but cook the omelets individually. Based on a recipe from Mustapha Zaizoun and adapted from Morocco: A Culinary Journey with Recipes by Jeff Koehler.
Makes one 8-inch omelet. Serves 1 or 2.
½ pound fresh mushrooms of at least 2 or 3 varieties, preferably wild
3 or 4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
Salt and freshly ground pepper
3 large eggs
2 generous pinches ground cumin
1 unpeeled garlic clove
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus more for garnishing
1 dried bay leaf
Keeping the mushroom varieties separate, clean them. If foraged, brush and wipe clean. “If cultivated, quickly dunk in cold water, drain, and pat dry with paper towels.” Trim off root end. If cultivated, quickly dunk in cold water, drain, and pat dry with paper towels. Quarter or slice the mushrooms depending on their shape.
In a 10-inch skillet, heat 1 tbsp of the oil until smoking. Add one mushroom variety, season with a pinch of salt and pepper, and quickly sauté until the edges are golden, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Add 1 tbsp oil to the pan and sauté another mushroom variety. Repeat if needed for a third variety.
In a small bowl, whisk the eggs until spongy. Stir in the cumin and a pinch of salt. Add three-fourths of the mushrooms and turn to coat. Gently crush the garlic under the heel of a palm or the side of a heavy knife.
Add 1 tbsp oil and the garlic to the pan, and cook over medium heat until fragrant, about 1 minute. Remove and reserve.
Pour in the egg mixture. Immediately swirl the pan for a few seconds to keep the mixture from sticking as the eggs begin to set. Sprinkle the 1 tbsp parsley over the top and season with salt and pepper. Place the bay leaf in the center. Cover, reduce the heat to medium low, and cook until the bottom is golden and the omelet is set but still moist, 2 to 3 minutes. Do not turn or stir the eggs; only swirl the pan from time to time to keep the omelet from sticking.
Loosen the omelet with a thin spatula if necessary and slide onto a large, flat plate. Scatter the remaining mushrooms over the top along with a pinch of parsley and some oregano. Top with the reserved garlic clove, drizzle with olive oil, and serve immediately.
Cream of Chanterelle Soup
The flavors here are delectable and straightforward in this recipe from Auberge Dardara’s chef, Musphafa Zaizoun. Chicken stock can be used instead of water to embolden the flavor, but I prefer the uninhibited flavors of the mushrooms.
Makes 5 to 6 cups. Serves 4.
12 ounces fresh chanterelles or another mushrooms, preferably wild
12 ounces white rose potatoes (about 2 medium-small potatoes), peeled and sliced
2 medium-small onions, peeled and sliced
¼ cup unsalted butter
Small bundle fresh parsley, tied together
2 large pinches freshly ground black pepper
¾ cup heavy cream
Clean the chanterelles. If foraged, brush and wipe clean. Trim off root end. If cultivated, quickly dunk in cold water, drain, and pat dry with paper towels. Cut into generous pieces.
In a large pot, place the chanterelles, potatoes, onions, butter, parsley, and black pepper, and season with salt. Cover the pot and cook over medium heat, stirring from time to time, for 10 minutes. Add 2 cups water, cover, bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and cook for 15 minutes, or until the mushrooms and potatoes are tender.
Remove from the heat. Remove the lid and let cool for a few minutes. Remove and discard the parsley. Purée the soup very well using a hand blender or transfer to a blender and blend well.
Transfer to a clean saucepan, thin with ½ cup water, and stir in the cream. Add in another ½ cup water if a looser texture is desired. Cook over low heat, stirring continually, for 5 to 10 minutes. Do not let boil.
Ladle into bowls and serve.
Photos by Peden + Munk.