What happens when Spring, wild chives, fresh asparagus, good neighbors, and a “honey hole” all come together at the same time? We here at SFH call it – “Serendipity!”
My creative and amazing Wife has made Sunday our official “Menu Day.” She thinks and ponders – I wait for her inspiration. Then it comes! She dictates – I type, feverishly trying to keep up with her burst of creative energy. Then, there it is, the menu for the week. A true work of glorious culinary planning has taken shape before my very eyes.
That wonderful weekly menu, however, is not set in stone. No, no, sweet wife is a believer in “Serendipity”, and because we have exceedingly generous and entirely unpredictable neighbors, “Serendipity” is a frequent visitor. (See related posts here and here.)
That is where the “honey hole” comes in. Whether it be the mysterious gathering of huckleberries in Idaho or the Spring rite of finding a highly favored mushroom in Virginia, the location of the “honey hole” is never ever revealed.
Thus it was on Thursday, an unnamed friend, provided an undisclosed amount of those highly favored mushrooms, gathered from a most secret “honey hole” somewhere within a 10-mile radius of SFH, to our dear neighbor. She, in turn, requesting utter and complete silence on the matter, gifted us with a dozen medium sized morel mushrooms.
Wondrous Spouse immediately set Mr. Monte and me to the task of finding an appropriate recipe that would highlight the delicate texture and flavor of the morels. We found several, but none was good enough to allow the morels to stand out as the deciding feature of delight that they certainly should be.
Saturday night, lovely Wife made the decision to take some ideas from the several recipes we collected, but she would improvise and make it a recipe truly her own. Immediately, the soon-to-be-world-famous SFH Test Kitchen was mobilized. Mr. Monte would inspect all ingredients and supervise kitchen safety. I would slice, dice, and fetch. Meanwhile, the Chief Chef for the night worked with amazing speed and masterful zeal – this was an opportunity to take the best from what the Serendipity Farmhouse gardens were producing. It would also be an opportunity to invoke here “inner Julia”.
A key ingredient for the dish was our own garden asparagus. Wild chives grow everywhere in the yard. Mr. Monte recommended including some of them. Rather than use garlic, our beautiful Chef would mate the chives with a chopped shallot. With the exception of the gnocchi, all ingredients would be sauteed in just the right amount of butter and olive oil.
In just a very few short minutes, my ever so capable Wife had prepared a masterpiece. It spoke of Spring freshness with our own chives and asparagus, and it mysteriously punctuated the entire meal with the exotic yet earthy aroma and flavor of morel mushrooms. – –
And the morel of this story is – never make a menu set in stone when there is the slightest chance that “Serendipity” might appear.
Gnocchi with Morel Mushrooms
- 1 package fresh gnocchi
- 3 tbsp butter
- 2 tbsp olive oil extra virgin
- 1 dozen morel mushrooms sliced in halves
- 2 wild chives chopped
- 1 shallot finely chopped
- 2-3 spears asparagus sliced diagonally
- 1/2 - 1 cup frozen peas
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 1/2 cup reserved gnocchi cooking liquid
- 1 pinch kosher salt or to taste
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper or to taste
- 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese for garnish
- 1/4 tsp grated lemon zest for garnish
- 2 wild chives for garnish, finely chopped
- Boil fresh gnocchi 2-3 minutes until soft; reserve 1/2 cup liquid prior to draining.
- As gnocchi cooks, add olive oil and butter to wok or large skillet and warm over medium-high heat until butter melts. Add morel mushrooms and saute, tossing occasionally, until they soften slightly.
- Add chopped shallots and chives and continue to saute for about 3 minutes.
- Add gnocchi, asparagus, peas, and reserved cooking liquid in with mushrooms. Cook, tossing occasionally, until asparagus and peas begin to warm and sauce starts to thicken.
- Serve and add grated parmeson cheese, lemon zest, and uncooked chives to garnish. - - The flavors have now reached their peak. Eat without delay!