Fried Morels with Wild Oregano & Asparagus

Paul Virant    ~     Vie Restaurant
Western Springs, Illinois USA              (708) 246-2082
TIP: Wild Oregano (Cunila origanoides) is an edible member of the mint family and occurs in the southern woodlands of Illinois. More than one species of wild oregano exist worldwide: Some are more peppery than others. Others can be the most flavorful oregano you ever tasted, especially when harvested fresh in April. Know that some wild plants you encounter in the woodlands of Illinois are quite toxic--just as some wild mushrooms are dangerously toxic. So you’ll want to educate yourself before hitting the woods.
If you want a fresh bite of real spring, why stop with just one delicious ingredient? If you’re a wild forager, those coveted morel mushrooms you seek right now are but one of the tantalizing prizes you can carry into your kitchen during April, the season of fresh arrivals. Celebrate whatever is out there. Asparagus is up. Over at the farmer’s market, someone has spring onions. And maybe sweet turnips. Out in the woods, there are tender sprigs of fresh, wild oregano. 
And there are those morels. They’re all waiting for us.
Paul Virant loves to cook at his famed Chicago-area restaurants with whatever is in season locally right now. He matches the foraged food-of-the moment with the freshest local farm produce, then gets creative. This perfectly designed morel appetizer brings together the simple fried morel tradition with the freshest spring produce that’s available throughout Illinois.
You’ll love the mild, sweet tang of goat cheese, fresh lemon and créme fraiche in this succulent morel spring mix. The nip of wild-harvested oregano makes a perfect seasonal accent. Click here for the recipe!
Let the people forage. Check out Paul Virant’s new book! Jan Sundberg