Morel Toast with Sunny-Side-Up Duck Egg and Ramp or Garlic Mustard Butter

It’s easy to get caught up in the price of morels; you see them in the bins of fancy grocery stores priced into the stratosphere every spring. But when I serve morels, I like to remember that I found them outside on the ground—on what was, in all probability, a lovely walk in the woods. It seems like a waste to dole out these riches stingily. Instead, I serve copious amounts, prepared simply and with little distraction, just as nature intended.

By / Photography By Julia Sexton | August 01, 2017

Ingredients

  • 2 (¾-inch) slices of your favorite rustic country bread
  • 1 tablespoon good-quality olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 5 cups loosely packed fresh, cleaned and trimmed morel mushrooms
  • 2–3 tablespoons ramp butter (recipe included)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped herbs (soft herbs like parsley, chervil, chives, tarragon, etc.)
  • ramp salt to taste (recipe included)
  • 2 duck eggs
  • salt and pepper to taste
Ramp/Garlic Mustard Pesto
  • 4 cups ramp leaves, roughly chopped into 1- to 2-inch pieces. You can substitute garlic mustard leaves (we do this all the time).
  • ¾ cups grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • ¼ cups toasted walnuts
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • ⅔ cups extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt to taste
Ramp/Garlic Mustard Butter
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 tablespoons ramp (or garlic mustard) pesto
Ramp (or Garlic Mustard) Salt
  • 2 cups dried ramp or garlic mustard leaves
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt

Instructions

Heat a grill or grill pan on medium-high heat. Drizzle the bread on both sides with the olive oil. Grill the slices on 1 side for 1 minute, then rotate the slices 90° and grill for another minute, or until the first side is lightly charred. Flip the bread, then grill the slices for another minute or until the second side is golden brown. Set aside in a warm place.

Select a sauté pan large enough to hold all the morels in 1 layer, and place it over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of butter to the pan and heat it until the butter foams and begins to color. Add the morels all at once and don’t stir them. Let the morels color a bit and begin to give off their liquid. Turn the heat down, and simmer and cook the morels, swirling the pan constantly to emulsify the butter and morel juice. If the sauce becomes greasy, add a drop of stock or just plain water to restore a creamy consistency. When the morels are just tender, fold in the fresh herbs and remove the pan from heat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Keep warm (this doesn’t need to be piping hot). Spread 1–2 tablespoons of ramp butter (see directions below) on each slice of bread, then divide the warm morels over.

In a nonstick pan over low heat, melt the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter. Crack the duck eggs into the pan, and season them to taste with salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Let the eggs cook on 1 side very gently for a couple of minutes, or until their whites just set but the yolks remain runny. Top each of the prepared toasts with 1 egg and sprinkle them very lightly with ramp salt (see directions below) and any extra chopped herbs it seems like we always have left over from these recipes.

For the Ramp/Garlic Mustard Pesto

Yields 1 Pint

Put the first 5 ingredients into the bowl of a food processor. Add ½ of the olive oil and pulse on and off to get things moving, periodically scraping down the sides of the bowl. When a coarse purée is achieved, leave the food processor on and add the remaining olive oil slowly. Process until the mixture is smooth.

There will be leftovers, which is a good thing. We use this stuff at the restaurant all spring. One of our other favorite things to do is add some chiles to the ramp/garlic mustard pesto and fold it into mayonnaise. It’s great on just about everything from raw vegetables to grilled fish.

Ramp/Garlic Mustard Butter

Yields about 1 cup

In a small bowl, combine both ingredients and stir with a rubber spatula until they’re well combined. Again, you’ll have some leftovers that you’ll want to deploy on anything you’d use butter and garlic for. Keeps in the fridge for about a week.

Ramp (or Garlic Mustard) Salt

Yields about ¼ cup    

Dry the ramp (or garlic mustard) leaves in a dehydrator set to 105° until they’re brittle enough to shatter. Alternately, you can lay the leaves on a sheet pan to dry overnight in an oven with a pilot light.

Put the salt and dried leaves in a spice grinder or in a mortar with pestle, then process (or grind) the leaves to the desired texture. Sometimes I like a fine powder and sometimes I prefer something a little chunkier.

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Ingredients

  • 2 (¾-inch) slices of your favorite rustic country bread
  • 1 tablespoon good-quality olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 5 cups loosely packed fresh, cleaned and trimmed morel mushrooms
  • 2–3 tablespoons ramp butter (recipe included)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped herbs (soft herbs like parsley, chervil, chives, tarragon, etc.)
  • ramp salt to taste (recipe included)
  • 2 duck eggs
  • salt and pepper to taste
Ramp/Garlic Mustard Pesto
  • 4 cups ramp leaves, roughly chopped into 1- to 2-inch pieces. You can substitute garlic mustard leaves (we do this all the time).
  • ¾ cups grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • ¼ cups toasted walnuts
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • ⅔ cups extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt to taste
Ramp/Garlic Mustard Butter
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 tablespoons ramp (or garlic mustard) pesto
Ramp (or Garlic Mustard) Salt
  • 2 cups dried ramp or garlic mustard leaves
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
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