Morel mushrooms. Dungeness crab. A savory duo for the ages! Today, we're going to match up these two powerhouse flavors with dill, capers and lemon to blast your tastebuds off into the stratosphere. This life-changing appetizer is likely something that won't happen very often, so be sure to source some quality ingredients.
If you can, of course, go forage your own morels and catch your own crab. That's ideal, amazing, and impressive! 😅 It's also a very difficult thing to do unless you live in a specific area and have access to these resources already. If you need to buy either, or both, go for it! Dried morels work fine, if you can find some big enough to stuff. Canned Dungeness crab also works fine, but I do suggest going through the meat with your fingers to feel for pieces of cartilage/shell. Canned crab often has little bits of shell and it doesn't take much crunch to ruin a bite!
I leave my morels whole for a number of reasons: I enjoy the presentation, the crab inside doesn't dry out as much, and we get to utilize the stems to incorporate more flavors into the stuffing!
If you prefer to slice your mushrooms in half and stuff them that way, no problem. This may be easier to do than stuffing whole rehydrated mushrooms, too.😉 Baste them often with the butter at the bottom of the pan during the cooking process so that the crab doesn't dry out. Make sure to cook your morels all the way through, as they are toxic raw.
Enough chat. Let's cook.
Dungeness Crab Stuffed Morel Mushrooms With Dill, Capers and Lemon:
6oz cooked Dungeness crab meat, picked clean
About 12 medium-large whole morel mushrooms
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon capers, chopped
1.5 teaspoons fresh dill, chopped
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/3 cup butter, divided
1 clove garlic
1 sprig rosemary
1/8 cup white wine
1/8 cup bread crumbs (I used Panko)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and Pepper, to taste
Lemon wedges, to serve
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Clean your morels by plunging them into a large bowl of water several times, then cut the stems off and set them aside. Make sure to drain the inner cavity and rotate them during drying so the outer holes can drain out. (More on cleaning morels can be found on my Cleaning Foraged Mushrooms Blog)
If you're using dehydrated mushrooms, the rehydrating process should naturally remove most dirt but give them a shake while they're in the water just to be sure.
Morel Mushroom caps with the stems removed. Cleaned, dried, and ready to stuff.
2. Pat the stems dry, then finely chop them. Heat a small sauté pan with a tablespoon of butter over medium to medium-high heat. Add minced morel stems, garlic clove, and rosemary. *Lightly* season with salt and pepper. Saute, stirring occasionally, until stems are golden brown (5-7 mins). Turn heat to high, wait 30 seconds, deglaze with white wine. Remove garlic and rosemary, set stems aside to cool.
Chopped morel stems, garlic clove, rosemary sprig.
Cooked morel stems. Don't bother chopping your garlic! You're just going to remove it after cooking. Give it a quick smash if you want, let your inner Italian out to play.
Note that the water content in the mushrooms can cause morel stems to "pop" around like popcorn, so I heartily suggest putting a splatter guard over your pan.
3. Mix crab, lemon zest, lemon juice, dill, capers, mayonnaise, Worcestershire and cooked morel stems together in a medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Capers, Lemon Zest and Dill.
4. Stuff the Morel Mushrooms with the crab mixture. You can use a piping bag, cut the corner off a ziploc bag and fill them that way, or use my own tried and true technique: a small spoon and the back end of a chopstick. Just get a bunch of crab into the mushrooms. Don't overfill them too much, it will just spill out and burn.
Morel caps stuffed with the crab mixture.
Stuffed morels, basted with butter and seasoned with salt and pepper on both sides
6. Bake your morels for about 45 mins to ensure they're cooked through, as again: they are toxic raw. Flip them over using tongs once or twice during baking to keep either side from drying out. Basting with the butter mixture in the pan is also an option. Once they are fully tender and even starting to crisp on the outside, top them with Parmesan cheese and Panko, then broil them until the cheese is done to your liking.
Morels ready to be flipped and put back in the oven for 20 more minutes.
Fully cooked morels covered with Parmesan cheese.
7. Serve piping hot (careful!) with lemon wedges to finish, for an optional squirt of acidic flavor at the end to cut some of the richness. Savor every bite, you earned it! 🥰
Serve with your choice of garnish, chopped parsley or chives look great.