I was talked into picking up fresh morels at Central Market a couple of days ago. I was excited, having read so much about them. I checked a couple of recipes, then ever so briefly rinsed them, dried them, and sauteed with sweet onion and asparagus before tossing with hand-made pasta (ie., by my hands) and a touch of cream.
Looked beautiful, but one bite and yuck! sooo gritty. I can endure a lot when I'm already a bit tired and feel done with the cooking, but this was unbearable. I separated the veggies from the pasta before (yikes) rinsing the pasta off and starting over with a little butter, etc. Sauce and texture of the pasta are okay now, and most of the sand seems gone. But the morels, I don't get. Not so much flavor, and some of them still feel like biting into a smudge of mud. Terrible.
Where did I go wrong? I tried to pick small morels that had a deep color and a dry but not dried texture. Should I have cleaned them some other way? Are the stems to be trimmed and discarded? And the taste (not so much)? Were these bad morels ($29/lb.)? Was it my fault, or do I just not get it?